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DONOR SPOTLIGHT

With BVMI Since the Beginning

It all started when a BVMI trustee told a Russell Berrie Foundation board member about an innovative health care initiative in Bergen County that provides free care for patients who cannot afford health insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. The Russell Berrie Foundation responded, awarding its first grant to BVMI for $5,000.

That was in 2009. Additional grants to BVMI would follow from 2010 to 2012. BVMI continued to grow, serving more and more patients. Especially significant was the number who were diabetic or pre-diabetic – 30% of the patient population. As the need for a program to address their needs became more urgent, in 2013 BVMI proactively approached the Foundation for funding, since diabetes care and prevention is one of its mission areas. The Russell Berrie Foundation acted swiftly, and in 2013 granted $25,000 to hire a Certified Diabetes Educator. A $25,000 Challenge Grant followed in 2014.

The Foundation noted that, in addition, to BVMI’s focus on diabetes education and treatment, it recognized the collaborative relationships that BVMI maintains with the five area hospitals, its strong volunteer base, and the network of area physicians who see BVMI patients at no charge. BVMI’s partnership with the Russell Berrie Foundation has created a diabetes education and care program that has affected hundreds of lives – amazing!