Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

New Health Care Priority Announced at Wyoming County Forum

Oct 14, 2015 | Posted in News

Perry, NY — Today the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, in partnership with the Wyoming Foundation, hosted the 2015 Wyoming County Health Care Forum and announced a psychiatric partial hospitalization program as the new funding priority for the 2016 William F. Thiel grant cycle. Today’s Forum brought together Wyoming County residents, community leaders and health care professionals to learn more about the county’s health needs. Through presentations and facilitated dialogue, the Forum also reported on the latest results from the Wyoming County Health Needs Assessment which include: health services; enabling health services; and infrastructure.

The Forum is made possible by the generosity and foresight of longtime Wyoming County philanthropist, William F. Thiel. In 1974, Mr. Thiel left a significant legacy to the county through the creation of the William F. Thiel Fund held at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to benefit the health needs of Wyoming County residents.

Since 2006, three Wyoming County Health Care Forums have been held and more than $2 million has been granted to Wyoming County organizations.

Also supported by the William F. Thiel Fund is the Wyoming County Health Needs Assessment which was originally commissioned by the Community Foundation in 2006. The Needs Assessment was created by rural health care network consultant, Gregory Bonk of HMS Associates and identifies strategic priorities in honor of Mr. Thiel’s request of improving health outcomes for Wyoming County residents. For this year’s process, a psychiatric partial hospitalization program was identified as the new funding priority in 2016 by the Wyoming County Health Roundtable. The psychiatric partial hospitalization program offers outpatient mental health services to patients as an alternative to inpatient mental health care.

“Mental health care is significantly important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood,” said Gregory Bonk. “It is also important to note that mental health problems are common and that help is available. This new funding priority will help to provide access to residents of Wyoming County that suffer from mental health issues and can help aide in the recovery process.”

Wyoming County residents were also encouraged to participate in a survey to help select a special project in conjunction with the new funding priority to increase mental health capacity for the 2016 William F. Thiel Fund grant cycle. The special project is to be determined at the Forum along with input from more than 190 survey participants.

In an effort to further connect with the needs of the Wyoming County community, the Wyoming Foundation took an active role in 2014 with the leadership work of the William F. Thiel Fund. Armed with information from the Health Needs Assessments and the historically significant Community Needs Forum held in 2012, the leadership team of the Wyoming Foundation is continuously working to explore newly identified community health needs.

“The Wyoming Foundation is committed to strengthening the quality of life in the county by encouraging charitable giving, assessing and responding to the community’s changing needs, and serving as a springboard for local charitable activities,” said Wyoming Foundation Chair, Scott Gardner. “This includes the health needs of the community as well. This commitment has helped us become the champion for the county’s residents on what really matters to them.”

It is estimated that one in three Wyoming County residents have benefited as a result of Mr. Thiel’s generosity and the Community Foundation’s approach to honoring his legacy.

“Since 1919, the Community Foundation has worked tirelessly on behalf of our clients who have asked the Foundation to manage their charitable assets and carry on their legacy according to their wishes, forever,” said Community Foundation President/CEO, Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker. “Thanks to Mr. Thiel’s generosity, more than 10,000 residents have been impacted by his commitment to Wyoming County.”

The William F. Thiel grant cycle opens annually in mid-November. For more information on the William F. Thiel granting process, please visit

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