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Still rebounding from the pandemic, Delco nonprofits hope to use grant money to expand – WHYY

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A Share Food Program worker is seen carrying boxes. (Courtesy of Share Food Program)
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The Foundation for Delaware County has recently awarded more than $1.75 million in funding to local nonprofits.
During this fourth round of Impact Grants, 51 organizations received about $1.4 million and 11 organizations received more than $360,000 in second and third-year funding.
The public charity awarded the grants to address several critical areas of need in the county: children’s health and well-being, community and economic development, food security, hospice and home care, and cancer.

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With Crozer Health, the four-hospital system in Delco, shutting down multiple services at its locations, the grants addressing health care are looked at as a way to fill a widening gap.
Joanne Craig, the foundation’s chief impact officer, said that Delco “should be able to count on nonprofit organizations” to step up during “these uncertain times.”
“If there are concerns about the availability of health care services, the supportive services are twice as important now — especially if Delaware County residents need to know where else they can turn for health care,” Craig said.
Craig emphasized that the pandemic has altered the ability of many to fulfill their basic needs such as food, which is why it was at the “top of the list.”
“Food security, in terms of the social determinants of health, is incredibly important to the foundation and our Impact Grantmaking with this cycle totaled $236,500 worth of grants to organizations that are literally on the ground in the communities directly providing food and support to make sure that Delaware County residents are fed and that they are not hungry,” Craig said.
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One of the nonprofit organizations that received an Impact Grant to address food insecurity was Share Food Program, which has been active in the greater Philadelphia region since 1986.
“We distribute up to 4 million pounds of emergency food relief in partnership with more than 450 community-based organizations and partner pantries. We also provide nutrition to 300,000 children across 800 schools throughout 60 school districts through the National School Lunch Program. We also focus quite a bit on making sure that we’re feeding our seniors in the region,” said Jess Bautista, the nonprofit’s director of communications and external relations.
​​In the summer of 2021, Delco approved a five-year contract for Share Food Program to become the county’s leading agency for state and federal food distribution.
Ellie Crowell, the nonprofit’s program director for Delaware County, said that they work with a network of partnering food pantries across the county every week.

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Those pantries then distribute the food directly to the community. Now, Share Food Program has something else up its sleeve.
“We just acquired a warehouse over in Ridley Township. So we’re going to be opening Delaware County’s first ever designated food bank, which is super exciting. That will allow us to really expand our operations down there,” Crowell said.
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Share Food Program is still developing the building that will house the food bank, however, it already has plans to establish a home delivery service in Delco as well as a job readiness culinary training program.
“We need to invest in more training and of course, transportation needs. So this grant is definitely going to help us a great deal. Invest in those things that we need to do to make sure that we’re up and running and tackling food insecurity throughout Delaware County,” Bautista said.
Crowell said that the grant will also help Share Food Program abide by an equity-first mission. The nonprofit has been doing its due diligence to identify areas within the county that have been traditionally underserved.
Using data gathered during the process, Share Food Program now has a road map to decide where to expand its pantry network. And with the funds, the nonprofit can train pantry partners to bolster their abilities to serve as many clients in Delco as possible.
“We know that we’re seeing, for instance, a lot of immigrant communities in Upper Darby, and trying to be able to pay for our sites to have document translation on demand, 24-hour phone translation services, things like that, so that we’re just sure that they feel confident and ready to serve whoever needs food that comes in their doors,” Crowell said.
Craig, of the Foundation for Delaware County, said that for nonprofits looking to be on the receiving end of the grant process, they can try and get an appointment to have a conversation on how to help them accomplish their mission.
“We’re concerned about Delaware County nonprofits and if we’re not able to provide financial support, we can support them in other ways that will help them to grow and thrive and be able to continue to deliver the needed services,” Craig said.
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Where Tech Talent Goes To Thrive

here is a worldwide shortage of digital skills. In a world increasingly reliant on technology, demand for technological skillsets is rising by as much as 50%. Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of today’s workers don’t feel equipped to learn the digital skills needed by businesses.

The most acute shortage is in advanced skills like programming, especially for new technologies like AI and blockchain.

This demand gives skilled tech workers, entrepreneurs, and leaders the pick of where to base themselves. As cities and nations compete to attract tech talent, what makes these prized individuals choose one place over another?.

Initial Attraction
In a survey of ‘tech migrants’, Boston Consulting Group identified a mixture of short-, medium-, and long-term levers businesses and cities could use to attract talent.

The initial attraction is often brute economics: higher pay and lower taxes. That’s certainly what brings people to Dubai, says Vladimir Vrzhovski, Tech and Digital Lead at Mercer: “Dubai pays about 30% higher than most of the mature tech hubs around Europe and Asia.” It also has a lower cost of living, especially when its 0% income tax is taken into account.

Businesses operating in the city’s free zones – like the tech-focused Dubai Internet City (DIC) and Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Innovation Hub – also benefit from 0% corporation tax. BCG credits the incentive with bringing big names like Amazon, Google, and Oracle to the emirate.

It is an echo of London’s rise to tech prominence, offering tax relief on tech investments via its Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to funnel the city’s vast pools of finance towards digital businesses.

The presence of blue-chip names affords another major draw for tech talent: opportunities.

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Adding exercise into treatment may reduce substance use, study shows

One key to fighting addiction may be exercise, according to a new study.

Researchers undertook a review of the existing literature around physical activity and its relationship to substance use, and they found that regular exercise was associated with lowered use in about 75% of the studies investigating that question, according to the analysis.

The review, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at 43 studies with more than 3,000 total participants. In addition to a reduction or cessation in substance use, the studies also found improved markers of physical health and decreased depressive symptoms, the study said.

“People think that during treatment people should only do psychotherapeutic treatments … but that’s not what we’ve seen in our study,” said lead study author Florence Piché, a doctoral student and researcher at Université de Montréal in Canada. “It’s very beneficial to do physical activity in addition to the treatments.”

There are limitations to the findings. The review found that most of the studies the researchers examined had a high risk of bias, meaning more research is needed to confirm their findings, said Dr. Aaron Kandola, research fellow at Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at University College London.

The studies were also not directly comparable enough to build a comprehensive and generalizable understanding of the relationship, Kandola said in an email. Kandola was not part of the research.

However, the findings were still significant and useful, he added.

“Substance use disorders are a major public health problem lacking low-cost, evidence-based solutions,” he said, adding that substance use disorders are worsening in many high-income countries — including the United States.

Finding more accessible solutions to this disorder is especially important because it often occurs with other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, which disproportionately affect people with fewer socioeconomic resources and areas with higher deprivation, he said.

Physical activity may be a useful and accessible part of a treatment plan for substance use disorder, said Dr. Mark Smith, professor of psychology at Davidson College in North Carolina. Smith was not part of the research.

“I think there’s now a sufficient amount of data to indicate that various forms of physical activity and exercise are generally effective at reducing substance use in individuals seeking treatment,” he said.

What exercise does
Most people can benefit from engaging in physical activity, Kandola said.

One benefit the studies found is improvements in physical health such as cardiovascular endurance or muscle strength, Smith said. And although that may not be the primary goal of the research, he said this finding is important because it shows the physical activity is doing its job to promote physical health.

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Blood sugar drug tirzepatide also leads to substantial weight loss in diabetes patients, Eli Lilly says

There’s more evidence that the injectable drug tirzepatide helps people with diabetes lose weight as well as control their blood sugar, according to the drug’s manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company.

In a new study, more than 900 adults with obesity and diabetes took the drug for a year and five months, and those on the highest dose lost an average of 34 pounds, or nearly 16% of their starting weight. It also helped people reduce their blood sugar, the company said in a news release. The data has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.

“We have not hit 15% in any other phase three trial for weight management in this type two diabetes population,” said Dr. Nadia Ahmad, an associate vice president at Eli Lilly and medical director of obesity clinical development for the company.

Ahmad said the company was pleased with these results, given how hard it is for people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight.

Tirzepatide is currently sold as Mounjaro and approved to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar.

Lilly says it will use the new study, along with results from an earlier study of weight loss in people without diabetes, to ask the US Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approval for tirzepatide purely for weight loss, which would make it a direct competitor to the blockbuster obesity drug Wegovy.

Plenty of people aren’t waiting for the FDA’s nod.

“I am aware of and I’ve heard, you know, it being sort of used off label for weight loss and individuals who do not have diabetes,” said Dr. Kimberly Gudzune, medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Gudzune was not involved in the tirzepatide study.

Gudzune points out that once a drug is FDA approved it can be prescribed for any reason a doctor sees as medically necessary.

Tirzepatide, along with several similar types of drugs taken for diabetes, went into shortage last year as success stories posted on social media fueled runaway demand for their weight loss benefits. The shortages made the medications difficult for patients with diabetes to get.

Tirzepatide works by mimicking the action of two different gut hormones. When blood sugar rises after eating, the drug stimulates the body to produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar. It also slows down the movement of food from the stomach, making people feel fuller for longer. In clinical trials, people who took tirzepatide experienced more nausea, vomiting and diarrhea compared with those who took a placebo injection.

Semaglutide, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, has also been approved as a weight loss medication for overweight adults with at least one associated health problem since 2021. When prescribed for weight loss, it is sold under the brand name Wegovy. When prescribed for diabetes, the injection is sold under the brand name Ozempic.

High demand, coupled with manufacturing problems, threw Wegovy into shortage for much of the last year. That shortage then rippled into shortages for diabetes patients as doctors began prescribing other diabetes medications off-label for weight loss.

There has already been a lot of buzz about tirzepatide’s potential as an obesity medication. In a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, people who were overweight or obese, but did not have diabetes, lost an average of 52 pounds on the highest dose of the drug, or more than 20% of their starting weight.

“In the last year has been really exciting just to have more tools in the toolbox, so to speak. And tools that, you know, we’re seeing really achieving outcomes that patients for the longest time have been hoping to achieve,” Gudzune said.

If those results hold up in the real world, that would make it the most potent of the injectable weight loss medications.

Indeed, this week Lilly aims to begin a study that will test Mounjaro against Wegovy head-to-head in 700 participants at 61 sites in the United States and Canada, according to The study will conclude in February 2025.

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