In 2022, Capital Health joined community partner Trenton Health Team to launch the Trenton Neighborhood Initiative (TNI). As part of Capital Health’s mission to improve the health and well-being of the urban and suburban populations it serves, TNI works to drive $10 million of investment in the neighborhoods surrounding Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton to address the societal factors that affect the overall health of the city’s residents.
Boosted by an initial $2.5 million leadership gift from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, TNI introduced a transformative multi-year plan built on four key pillars: Live, Work, Grow, and Connect. With community and partner input and involvement, the program seeks to make significant strides in housing and neighborhood improvements, workforce education and employment, child and family support services, and technology training and tools for residents.
“As the health care landscape continues to evolve, it is our responsibility to understand and embrace our changing role in the community,” said Al Maghazehe, president and CEO of Capital Health. “TNI goes well beyond the walls of our hospitals and medical offices to look at societal factors that impact the health of our community. Based on input from community residents, data and recommendations from existing neighborhood plans, and industry best practices, TNI programs have been developed to have a lasting positive impact on the well-being of our neighbors and complement the health care services Capital Health offers.”
TNI’s Homebuyer Assistance Program, in partnership with New Jersey Community Capital, is making a difference with Address Yourself, an affordable homeownership program that provides financial counseling and up to $20,000 in down payment assistance (as a forgivable loan) to applicants seeking to become first-time homeowners in Trenton. Since its launch, TNI’s Homebuyer Assistance Program has provided financial guidance for almost 30 first-time home buyers and helped facilitate seven home purchases, with more in process as of this writing.
On the education front, TNI works with Mercer County Community College (MCCC) to provide educational scholarships of up to $5,000 per year per student for a limited number of Trenton residents (including those who work at Capital Health) who attend short-term credentialing or associate’s degree programs in health-related fields at MCCC. This supplemental financial aid can be used for tuition, books, technology, program costs, transportation, and childcare. So far, more than 30 scholarships have been awarded to Trenton residents.
TNI also offers programs designed to help Trenton families improve health well-being outcomes through nutrition and material support. Recognizing that the road to better health begins with better food, Capital Health and community partner Arm in Arm host a Mobile Food Pantry for Trenton residents from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays at Capital Health – East Trenton (first and third Wednesdays) and Capital Health Family Health Center (second and fourth Wednesdays). Offerings include a staple bag of non-perishable items, a bag of fresh produce, and a bag containing meat and/or eggs and dairy. Since March 2023, more than 3,000 people have been served at more than 14 Mobile Food Pantry events.
Additionally, the TNI Family Support Program connects North Trenton families with a community health worker to achieve housing and economic stability and improve health outcomes for children, their parents, and seniors. TNI Family Support assists families by purchasing emergency supplies (such as food, diapers, car seats), filling out applications for benefits like insurance and food stamps, facilitating communication with health care and social service providers, and providing guidance for routine appointments, records, and prescriptions. As of June 2023, 85 individuals have received assistance and more than $111,000 in material support.
TNI is also generously supported by Allied Universal, Bank of America, Investors Bank, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Labcorp, Citizens Bank Philanthropic Foundation, the George H. Sands and Estelle M. Sands Foundation, Sodexo, the Wawa Foundation, and many other corporate and private foundation partners.
Capital Health’s Trenton Neighborhood Initiative seeks to advance neighborhood revitalization and support residents in realizing their vision for a healthier, more equitable Trenton. For more details, visit tnitrenton.org.