The Partnership for Better Health is a well-respected voice on timely health issues and actively involved in various initiatives and events throughout the community. Whether we are weighing in on a pressing policy issue, sharing recent developments in the field of health care or spreading the news about a promising public health strategy, we aim to keep the community informed and engaged.

Browse recent news items below to see what’s happening, and stay informed by signing up to receive future communications directly in your inbox.

New – Seeking Strategic Partner to Lead Housing Systems Change Initiative

The Partnership for Better Health is seeking a strategic partner to staff and lead Cumberland County’s collaborative housing initiative, called Community Partners for Change.  The mission of this initiative is to effect positive and sustainable change in the housing system to obtain equitable, affordable, accessible, and secure housing for all Cumberland County residents.

The strategic partner must have a history with and/or a commitment to serving under-resourced individuals and families in Cumberland County.  Also, the strategic partner must demonstrate a strong understanding of housing issues, emerging best practices and trusted methods for bringing groups together to educate, advocate, and take action.

A two-year grant of up to $160,000 is available to support this work and proposals are due by September 16, 2022.  Please see complete RFP for additional details: Request for Proposals.

Calling All Health Champions! Open for Nominations

Do you know someone who’s a champion in advancing the health of our community? The Partnership for Better Health’s 2022 Champions for Better Health Awards recognize distinguished community volunteers, health care providers, business leaders, philanthropists, and youth whose work plays a vital role in advancing the health and wellness of our region. Community members are invited to nominate local health champions whose work and service make our community a healthy place for everyone to live, learn, work and play.

To nominate an individual or organization, you can complete a nomination form at:

Nominations are due by September 12, 2022.


Hiring: Director of Communications & Development

The Partnership for Better Health is seeking a Director of Communications & Development to lead the foundation’s public relations, marketing and community fundraising. The director will assist the foundation with community outreach, media relations and our annual community fundraising campaign. Bringing a keen understanding of the relationship between communications and fundraising work, the director will serve as a thought leader, influencer and trusted expert on health communications and fundraising.

Strong candidates with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The Partnership for Better Health offers an attractive compensation and full benefits package, including competitive salary, paid-time-off, employee wellness, medical, dental and life insurances, and retirement benefits. At 32-hours a week, the position supports a healthy work/life balance. Qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to email a cover letter, resume and three references to Casandra Jewell Sweeney ([email protected]). The position will be open until filled, with interviews beginning to be scheduled after August 8.

To view the full job description and apply, click here- Director of Communications-Development 7-8-2022.

New – Open Request for Strategic Planning Consultant

The Partnership for Better Health is seeking a seasoned consultant/team with demonstrated knowledge of strategic planning for nonprofit organizations, and a depth of expertise in the fields of community health and philanthropy. Experience with grassroots community engagement, consensus building among diverse stakeholders and development of aspirational and measurable strategic plans is required. We seek consultant(s) that can engage diverse constituencies, hear many voices and generate a shared vision for community transformation and measurable health improvements.

The Partnership for Better Health’s strategic planning process is projected to last three to five months, beginning in October 2022 and concluding in February 2023. Some aspects of the timeline may be flexible and based upon the consultant’s proposed approach.

The budget for this strategic plan is expected to range between $10,000 and $15,000. Proposals from interested consultants are due by August 2, 2022. Please see complete RFP for additional details: Request for Strategic Planning Consultant

New “Spark of Change” Grants

Through the leadership of our inaugural Director of Health Equity, Dr. Marcellus C. Taylor, the Partnership for Better Health is developing a full complement of health equity strategies and grants. Our introductory health equity grant is called Spark of Change. Spark of Change grants are mini grants that are intentionally focused on addressing health equity challenges, finding solutions, and amplifying voices at the neighborhood level. Neighborhoods have a shared history and collective community characteristics that set them apart. Applicants for Spark of Change grants must narratively demonstrate how their project will impact a specific community in our service area. We anticipate average grant awards of $5,000. Applications are due March 3, 2022.  To learn more about this funding opportunity and to apply, follow this link to view the complete Request for Applications _ Spark of Change _Feb 2022.

New Grants to Address Youth Mental Health

The U.S. Surgeon General has released an advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health. It highlights youth mental health as an urgent public health issue that has grown worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To support youth mental health needs in our local schools and communities, the Partnership for Better Health is inviting school districts and community organizations to apply for funding in support of comprehensive school mental health systems.  We anticipate average grant awards of $50,000. Applications are due February 28, 2022.  To learn more about this funding opportunity and to apply, follow this link to our complete Request for Applications Youth Mental Health Dec 2021.

Physical, Mental and Emotional Health Benefits of Being in the Outdoors

Our Partners at the PA Parks & Forests Foundation have created videos regarding the health benefits of outdoor recreation.

Check them out here.





Request for Health Consulting Proposals

The Perry County Health Coalition is seeking to engage a consultant to guide their new Strategic Planning process this fall. Individual consultants or firms with proven experience in facilitating strategic planning sessions, analyzing secondary health data and conducting stakeholder interviews are encouraged to apply.

The Perry County Health Coalition created its first strategic action plan in 2017. Since that time, the health coalition has made measurable strides in expanding access to health services and has served as a coordinating force throughout the pandemic. 2021 is an optimal time for the coalition to reassess county health needs and plan for the future. Interested consultants are encouraged to submit a lean scope of work, project deliverables and proposed timeframe, with budgets not to exceed $10,000. Proposals are due to the Partnership for Better Health via email on or before September 3, 2021. Click here for the complete Request for Consulting Proposals.   RFP- Community Assessment Action Plan- Perry County- Final 7-7-21

Majority of County Residents Support Tax Increase to Retain Claremont

April 6, 2021 – A new public opinion poll finds that 57 percent of Cumberland County residents are willing to pay $20 more a year in property taxes, if it means that the nursing home can remain a county-owned and operated facility.

Funded by the Partnership for Better Health and conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, the poll captures a representative sample of 400 Cumberland County residents who were contacted by phone and online last week.

Balanced to reflect the diversity of Cumberland County, the poll demonstrates little support for the sale of Claremont, regardless of age, gender, eastern or western region, or political affiliation. A third of poll respondents were Democrats, 50 percent were Republicans, and 13 percent were either independent or affiliated with another party.

Recognizing that 75 percent of Claremont’s patients are low-income, with their nursing care paid for by Medicaid, one survey question asked residents: On a scale of 1 to 10, how important do you think it is for Claremont to continue to serve primarily low-income patients? County residents gave an overall rating of 8.5, reflecting that maintaining nursing care services for low-income individuals is very important to them. In total, 74 percent of all respondents gave this question a high score of 8, 9 or 10.

In the Commissioners’ discussions, whether a new owner could be mandated to continue serving a majority of low-income patients has remained uncertain.

“Our board funded the poll to give residents a meaningful voice in what is quickly shaping up to be a three-person decision by the Commissioners,” said Becca Raley, Executive Director of the Partnership for Better Health. “Active public engagement has been nearly all but absent in the county’s deliberations about Claremont’s future, and for a facility that’s truly owned by the public, what local residents want and expect should be a top priority.”

Raley noted that the Partnership for Better Health’s board also offered to fund an independent, multi-year review of Claremont’s financial outlook and analyze various options, but the offer has been declined to date.

At their meeting on March 18, Commissioners Gary Eichelberger and Vince DeFilippo made a motion to begin negotiations to sell Claremont Nursing & Rehabilitation Center to Transitions Healthcare LLC, a for-profit company based in Maryland. Commissioner Jean Foschi opposes the sale and is calling for additional due diligence before a final decision is made.

The opinion poll finds that 72 percent of Cumberland County residents are aware of the County’s plans to sell, with only 14 percent of residents in support of selling Claremont to a private owner. A majority of respondents (45%) think that Claremont should be retained as county-owned and operated, with 41 percent of respondents still undecided.

Republicans oppose the sale by a margin of 45 to 20. Democrats oppose the sale by a margin of 50 to 9 margin, and independent voters oppose the sale by a margin of 36 to 4.

Last October, the County projected an annual loss for the nursing home of $2.6 million. Yet Cumberland County has generated budget surpluses for nearly a decade. Claremont’s advocates suggest that the home’s projected losses could be covered using a combination of the County’s existing reserves of $45.2 million and the $49 million in federal aid that is being apportioned to the County as part of the COVID-19 economic relief bill passed by Congress in December. To date, the two majority Commissioners have objected to using existing funds to support the nursing home’s operations.

The poll asked, hypothetically, if Cumberland County residents would be willing to pay $20 more per year in county taxes if it means that Claremont can remain a county-owned and operated facility: 57 percent of poll respondents said yes, with just 11 percent of residents undecided on the tax question. The $20 figure is an estimate of what an average homeowner may need to contribute to close Claremont’s projected deficit, which stems in part from the impact of COVID-19 on the nursing home.

Jim Lee, President of Susquehanna Polling & Research, noted that the majority of respondents who say they would be willing to pay more in county taxes to keep Claremont in county hands reflects a bipartisan majority of 54 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats. “To me, this is a strong testament to the fact that Claremont’s prospective sale is not viewed as a hyper-partisan issue by most. Many appear to believe keeping the county home is a valuable endeavor,” Lee stated.

Lee went on to state that the results appear somewhat compelling and selfless, “54 percent of those polled said they do not anticipate ever needing the services of the nursing home for themselves or their family, and among these, 45 percent would still pay more in taxes for the home to stay in county hands.”

Cumberland County’s Commissioners are expected to make a final vote on Claremont’s prospective sale this spring.

The poll results can be accessed Claremont Poll – Susquehanna Polling -4-5-21.

COVID-19 Rapid Response Emergency Grants

In response to COVID-19, the Partnership for Better Health is making a third round of Rapid Response Emergency Grants available to local nonprofit organizations. Grants are expected to range between $1,000 and $10,000. Funding priorities include these five pressing issues.

  1. Basic Health & Human Needs
  2. Emergency Responders
  3. Safe Child Care Services
  4. Homeless Residents
  5. Newly Unemployed & Rental Assistance

Organizations with significant experience serving vulnerable populations in the foundation’s geographic region of Central and Western Cumberland County, Perry County, Northern Adams County and Greater Shippensburg are invited to apply for grants of up to $10,000. 

Applications will be accepted through February 1, 2021, with awards announced in early March. The Partnership for Better Health accepts all applications online.  Visit here for more information and to apply.

Since April 2020, the Partnership for Better Health has made over $850,000 available through 78 emergency grants between the spring and fall of 2020. For a complete report of our spring 2020 emergency grants, click here. For a report of our fall 2020 emergency grants, click here. For our traditional grants, the next deadline is March 1, 2021.