HealthNet Awarded $250,000 Challenge Grant from the Kresge Foundation


HealthNet, Inc., Indiana’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center, received a $250,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation to assist with the expansion and renovation of Southwest Health Center in southwest Indianapolis.

The gift came through Kresge’s Health Program, which seeks to influence and assist healthy living environments for disadvantaged populations. In 2008, the foundation awarded 342 grants totaling $181 million.

The Kresge challenge grant is part of HealthNet’s $8 million, “Improving Communities, Improving Lives” capital campaign to renovate and expand two health centers on the near southwest and near east side of Marion County.

To date, HealthNet has successfully raised $7 million of the $8 million required to complete the campaign. To receive the $250,000 challenge grant, HealthNet must raise an additional $600,000 in new private gifts, pledges and grants by December 31, 2009.

“This is the most exciting and important part of our capital campaign. We need the community’s help so we can take advantage of this great opportunity,” said Booker Thomas, HealthNet’s President and CEO. “We are confident that our community will be galvanized by this challenge and want to be a part of it,” said Thomas.

Built in 1935 as a neighborhood drug store, Southwest Health Center is HealthNet’s oldest—and smallest—facility. Yet it has become HealthNet’s busiest health center as the neighborhood around it has grown.

In 1972, Southwest side residents partnered with Methodist Hospital to open the health center in the converted drug store on W. Morris St. The need for expanded OB/GYN services led to the opening of the HealthNet Southwest OB/GYN Annex in the West Morris Street Free Methodist Church in 1990.  Due to space constraints, the OB/GYN Annex moved to larger buildings on W. Howard St.

In 2007, HealthNet purchased a Masonic Lodge at Morris and Harding streets and began plans to renovate it into a 27,000 square foot health center with 30 medical exam rooms for primary care and OB/GYN services and a 2,200 square foot dental clinic. The new facility will have ancillary services such as podiatry, optometry, social work and mental health as well as nutrition/dietetic counseling and smoking cessation services. The state of the art, eco-friendly, “green” health center will set the standard for a new era in patient care and will deliver an additional 35,000 patient visits per year.

“We’re honored to be selected by the Kresge Foundation for a challenge grant,” said Thomas. “Our plan is to use this opportunity and endorsement to reach out to donors, volunteers, community leaders, and others to enlist their support for not only these expansions, but for our future growth and service to our community,” he added.

About the Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation ( is a $3.1 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life of future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields of interest: health, the environment, community development, arts and culture, education and human services.

About HealthNet

For more than 40 years, HealthNet ( has been a mainstay in the Indianapolis community. Through its network of five community-based health centers, an OB/GYN care center, a pediatric and adolescent care center and eight school-based health centers, HealthNet annually serves over 47,000 individuals and families. Many of them are uninsured or underinsured and live below the federal poverty level.

HealthNet services include: primary and preventive health care; OB-GYN support and coaching for expectant mothers; Healthy Families and Better Indy Babies; dental services; Homeless Initiative Program; counseling, outreach and social service programs.

HealthNet’s health centers include Barrington Health Center, Care Center at the Tower, Martindale-Brightwood Health & Dental Center, Pediatric & Adolescent Care Center, People’s Health & Dental Center, Southeast Health & Dental Center, Southwest Health Center, and Southwest OB/GYN Annex.