The Inland Empire leads the state as the region with the greatest shortage of both primary care and specialist physicians. A recent study by the Center of Health Journalism showed Riverside had the lowest physician to resident ratio in California, with only 39 physicians per 100,000 residents; far below the recommended 70 doctors per 100,000 people. In fact, California is expected to be short 4,700 doctors by 2025. Local physician and philanthropist Guillermo J. Valenzuela is committed to making a difference on this issue and by improving the health of underserved communities in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. As another example of his ongoing commitment to this goal the Guillermo J. Valenzuela Foundation it has awarded $250,000 in grants to local community organizations that work to improve the health and wellbeing of underserved families in the Inland Empire. The Foundation has awarded nearly $700,000 in grants since its launch in 2015. The Foundation’s 2019 grants were awarded during a luncheon held Wednesday, Aug. 28 at The Mexico Café in San Bernardino. The local non-profit organizations awarded, support activities in alignment with the Foundation’s mission of expanding access to healthcare and improving quality care by addressing the Inland Empire’s shortage of physicians and healthcare providers. Commenting about the recipients Valenzuela said, “I am delighted that our 2019 Foundation grants are supporting such incredible organizations, each of which plays a crucial role in improving the health, wellbeing, and potential opportunities of families and women in need across the Inland Empire.” “The care, services and most importantly, the compassion provided by these organizations across the Inland Region are absolutely vital to improving outcomes for the most vulnerable among us.” The grants which ranged from $20,000 to $30,000 each were awarded to the following organizations: Catholic Charities San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, Desert Sanctuary, Inc., El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center, Funders Alliance of San Bernardino & Riverside Counties, Inland Behavioral and Health Services, Inc., OneFuture Coachella Valley, Reach Out of Upland, Southern California Public Radio and Time for Change Foundation. “We are elated to have been chosen by the foundation to receive a grant to assist more than 100 women and their families that are facing a crisis, find stability and health,” said Ken Sawa, Executive Vice President of Catholic Charities San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. “With these funds, we are able to increase caseworker staff and support additional programs that uplift those in the community.” The Valenzuela Foundation also donated $110,250 to the Health Professions Education Foundation’s Steven M. Thompson Loan Repayment Program. This commitment from the Valenzuela Foundation will help relieve medical student debt for a physician willing to work for three years in San Bernardino. The Valenzuela Foundation invites proposals requesting general operating or specific project support for work in the Inland Empire – San Bernardino and/or Riverside Counties – that align with the mission described above, and focus on the current priorities, described below. Eligible organizations must be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Emerging and developing as well as established programs / projects / organizations are eligible for funding. For further information, please contact Lina Paredes at (888)208-0547.
Header Photo: Dr. Guillermo J. Valenzuela (right) and Lina Paredes (left) of the Valenzuela Foundation present a check for $30,000 to Margarita Luna and Max Freund of The Funders Alliance and The Community Foundation.