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05/11/2022

Wentworth-Douglass Grant Provides $50K for Community Transportation

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital has awarded a $10,000 community benefit grant to the Alliance for Community Transportation (ACT), a group that coordinates and provides community transportation, largely for seniors and adults with disabilities, in Southeastern New Hampshire. The grant will allow the organization to access an additional $40,000 in federal funds.

“Our team here at Wentworth-Douglass knows firsthand from our patient population how important it is to remove barriers to transportation, and with the ability to acquire additional federal dollars, there is no doubt this program will have a meaningful impact on the health and wellbeing of our neighbors,” said Michelle Hanson, director of strategic planning and community benefit at Wentworth-Douglass.

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 incredibly grateful to Wentworth-Douglass for stepping up and funding this important community initiative,” said Jeff Donald, regional mobility manager for ACT and TripLink, a regional transportation call center. “Particularly as we emerge from the pandemic, this $50,000 will allow to ACT to respond to necessary service fluctuations or staffing changes in real time,” he said.

TripLink has operated continuously throughout the pandemic, ensuring that the region’s most vulnerable residents continue to have access to medical care, grocery shopping, and other transportation needs. In November 2021, ACT re-launched its website, re-branding it to focus primarily on TripLink and on reaching those in need of transportation and their caregivers. The organization says the new site will allow older adults and adults with disabilities to register for most of the region’s nonprofit transportation options at one time. One of ACT’s goals is to return ridership to pre-pandemic levels, which would equal 40,000 annual trips scheduled through TripLink.

“These programs are extremely important because the senior population has a higher dependence on community transportation. There’s an increasing need for transportation options that allow seniors to receive regular medical care and “age in place”. 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,” said Donald.

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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