GE shareholders are gathering in Detroit, Michigan, for their annual meeting tomorrow. It’s a fitting location. GE is growing in size in the Wolverine State. The company opened Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center near Detroit three years ago. The center already has 850 workers and GE will add a total of 1,600 new jobs in coming years.
But a healthy economy needs a healthy workforce. Yesterday, the GE Foundation, GE’s philanthropic arm, said it’s giving $500,000 in grants to two Detroit community health centers, The Wellness Plan – Gateway Medical Center, and Community Health and Social Services (CHASS)– Southwest Center, to increase primary care access for the uninsured in underserved neighborhoods across the city.
The money is sorely needed. The Wellness Plan, for example, treats each year 19,000 patients, roughly 95 percent of who are either uninsured or underinsured. “This grant from the GE Foundation couldn’t come at a better time as the number of clients in need of our services continues to increase,” said Anthony King, CEO and executive director of The Wellness Plan.
According to estimates, some 34 percent of Michigan’s uninsured rely on community health care centers. The GE Foundation has donated a total of $1.2 million to such centers in the state so far this year. Earlier this year, the foundation made a $750,000 grant to three Cherry Street Health Services centers in Grand Rapids.
The grants were part of the GE Foundation’s Developing Health program, a multi-year, $50 million effort to improve primary care in underserved communities across the U.S. Over the last few years, the program helped fund clinics in Milwaukee, Miami, New Orleans, and elsewhere.
In addition to the grants, GE volunteers also help clinics address their needs. They provide their expertise in IT, data analysis and other business skills to improve the patient experience.