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DOVER, N.H. – For the second straight year, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital has awarded a $10,000 community benefit grant to the Alliance for Community Transportation (ACT), a group that provides community transportation, largely for seniors and adults with disabilities, in Southeastern New Hampshire. Wentworth-Douglass awarded the same grant in 2022, which allows ACT to access an additional $40,000 in federal funds.
“We know firsthand what a meaningful impact ACT’s programs had last year – and every year – on the health and wellbeing of our communities,” said Michelle Hanson, director of strategic planning and community benefit at Wentworth-Douglass. “Our contribution, paired with the acquisition of federal dollars, will help ACT remove transportation and coordination barriers for so many of our neighbors.”
ACT’s lead agency and fiscal sponsor is the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST), but its work is primarily funded by Federal Transit Administration funds that are passed through the NH Department of Transportation. ACT must provide non-USDOT funding to leverage the $40,000 in federal money.
“I’m grateful once again to Wentworth-Douglass for funding this life-sustaining service throughout our region,” said Jeff Donald, regional mobility manager for ACT and TripLink, a regional transportation call center. “We booked more than 30,600 trips last year for 740 people, and we’re on track for 35,000 trips this year, so we’re confident our ridership will return to pre-pandemic levels.”
TripLink operated continuously throughout the pandemic, ensuring that the region’s most vulnerable residents continued to have access to medical care, grocery shopping, and other transportation needs. One of ACT’s goals is to return ridership to pre-pandemic levels, which would equal 40,000 annual trips scheduled through TripLink. The organization has already smashed its goal of enrolling 25% of clients for more than one service by the end of the year. As of February, 59% are registered for multiple services.
“Our aging population creates an increased need for transportation, allowing seniors to receive regular medical care and “age in place,” said Donald, “Aging in place not only allows seniors the ability to continue to participate in their communities, but it’s also more cost-effective for tax-payers than institutional housing.”
Wentworth-Douglass conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years to identify where the hospital should focus its programs and services to improve the overall health of the individuals and families it serves. The funds donated are approved by the hospital’s Community Benefit Funding Disbursement Committee and are not raised through any public or private donations.
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