The donation, which will be payable in increments of $200,000 over five years, moves the Racine Community Health Center closer to its goal of opening this summer.
The clinic, which is a collaboration of the City of Racine, Racine Unified Schools, Racine County and Gateway Technical College, is planned for a 5,000-square-foot space at Julian Thomas Community School at 930 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed by late spring.
“On behalf of Ascension Wisconsin, we are thrilled to be the first health system to support the Racine Community Health Center, which will provide essential access to residents who need it most,” said Bernie Sherry, ministry market executive for Ascension Wisconsin and senior vice president of Ascension. “For nearly 150 years, our team at Ascension All Saints Hospital has been serving this community, with a special focus on those who are living in poverty and are vulnerable. This pledge allows us to collaborate with others and extend our careism beyond our four walls to bring health and healing to more people.”
The county, city and Gateway Tech have each contributed $50,000 to the clinic’s opening. Racine Unified has committed Community Program and Services Fund (Fund 80) revenues to remodel the space.
In total, the RCHC has raised $350,000 of the $650,000 goal to open.
“I am extremely grateful to Ascension Wisconsin for their commitment to the health of our community,” said Mayor Cory Mason. “Their dedication over the last 18 months in working with our team to bring this center to life will benefit our residents for years to come. Their generosity puts us in a great position to be able to improve access to health care for city and county residents. As a community, we know low income and underserved populations in the city and county have faced major challenges in accessing health care. With this support from Ascension Wisconsin, we are one step closer to opening the Racine Community Health Center at Julian Thomas Elementary School.
The partnering organizations initially sought a federally qualified health center designation for the clinic, but did not meet the threshold to qualify this year due to an unexpected number of applications, they said. The RCHC will again seek the FQHC designation this year.