Bridgeport Hospital is committed to participating in and supporting initiatives to improve Bridgeport neighborhoods. In 2012, the Hospital provided over $100,000 in financial and in-kind donations to support efforts in the areas of revitalizing neighborhoods and creating educational opportunities.
Neighborhood Revitalization Zones – Several years ago, the City of Bridgeport organized Neighborhood Revitalization Zones (NRZ) in order to expand and improve business and housing in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods or areas within neighborhoods. The NRZs received technical assistance from the City and outside consultants, and engage neighborhood residents, non-profits, and faith-based organizations to meet and form stakeholder groups. These groups identify the priorities and needs of the neighborhoods and are eligible to borrow state money to purchase blighted properties or offer low-interest loans to qualifying businesses for facade improvements. Hospital leadership has been actively engaged in the NRZ process from the onset with representatives serving on committees organized in the City’s East End and East Side, which are both located near the hospital.
During 2012, Bridgeport Hospital worked closely with the City of Bridgeport to develop and implement an NRZ in the Mill Hill neighborhood, which directly surrounds the hospital. In order to be recognized as an NRZ, the group must receive approval from the City Council and develop a Revitalization or Strategic Plan for the neighborhood. The process for the Mill Hill area to become an NRZ was initiated through a Neighborhood Workshop held on June 30, 2012.
Bridgeport Hospital Community Partnership – Six years ago, prior to the City’s effort to develop an NRZ in Mill Hill, the Hospital created what is now called the Bridgeport Hospital Community Partnership. This unique program was developed to implement measurable and sustainable quality-of-life enhancements in the neighborhoods directly surrounding the Hospital. Over 900 neighborhood residents receive invitations to attend the Hospital-sponsored meetings. The residents identified issues or concerns they had related to their neighborhood, and the Hospital worked with its network of local government and community organizations to address these issues. In 2012, expert speakers at Community Partnership meetings provided information about successful aging, economic development initiatives in the neighborhood such as plans for the former GE complex on Boston Avenue and the proposed Grant Street Plaza to improve safety.
East End Community Council – The Hospital also provided operational support to the East End Community Council, a group of community residents, business, civic, religious leaders and community police officers. The East End Community Council works collaboratively to enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood through various initiatives including safe streets, food pantries, annual toy drives and a little league team.
Seaview Avenue Business Alliance – Bridgeport Hospital, along with other area businesses, is a founding member of the Seaview Avenue Business Alliance. The Seaview Avenue Business Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving streetscapes and improving the area along the Seaview Avenue corridor. The organization also provides annual scholarships to students graduating from Harding High School who plan to attend college. In 2012, the Hospital provided financial and in-kind support for these efforts.
Student Mentoring and Support – Reflecting its strong commitment to the Bridgeport community and support of education, Bridgeport Hospital continued mentoring and career exploration opportunities during the year.
- The newly created Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP partnership provides early exposure to career opportunities for students to improve their engagement and motivation in school. The funding for this project targets Bridgeport students who are in the graduating classes of 2014 and 2017 and will follow those students from seventh grade through their freshman year in college as part of a research study through Yale University. Over 45 seventh graders attended a career fair and tour of Bridgeport Hospital as part of the program. Additional partners include the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, People’s Bank, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, University of Bridgeport, Housatonic Community College and Norwalk Community College.
- Hospital staff from various departments including the Emergency Department, Women’s Care Center, Surgical Services, Central Sterile Processing, Food and Nutrition Services, and Physical Therapy participated in mentoring programs coordinated through the Hospital’s Human Resources and Volunteer Services Departments. Over 30 area high school students participated in the programs, which include e-mentoring, an internship program and Teen Camp focused on providing basic knowledge and insight into the skills required for a number of careers in healthcare.
- A school supply drive was held at the Hospital for students at the Hall Elementary School. Hospital employees contributed notebooks, binders, backpacks, rulers, packages of paper, crayons and pencils and other items to help assist the 350 students to begin their school year. Hall Elementary School is located in the Mill Hill neighborhood of Bridgeport.
- Bridgeport Hospital, through the Seaview Avenue Business Alliance, provided scholarships to seniors from Harding High School who will be attending college. The Hospital is also a member of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, which is a coalition of organizations, parents and other concerned individuals committed to improving the well-being of Bridgeport’s children through research, advocacy, community education and mobilization.