Gift from Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation Creates Healing Bridge

The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation has awarded Wellpoint Care Network a grant to provide telehealth mental health services to some Milwaukeeans hit hardest by COVID-19. The grant enables us to outfit 158 of our clients, who would not otherwise be able to access quality mental health care while Safer at Home, with devices and internet access for one year.

“As we face the challenges arising from COVID-19, I wanted to support Wellpoint as they are dedicated to mental health and serving those that have been most impacted by the pandemic in my hometown of Milwaukee,” said Oprah Winfrey.

The gift to Wellpoint to best support its clients is an extension of Ms. Winfrey’s ongoing relationship with the organization.

In March of 2018, she filed a story on childhood trauma and resilience for 60 Minutes and interviewed Tim Grove, Wellpoint Senior Consultant, along with other trauma experts. Wellpoint is one of a small number of beneficiaries chosen by Ms. Winfrey as part of her $10 million pledge to provide COVID-19 relief in cities where she grew up.

According to the Milwaukee County Health Department, at the time of this press release, African Americans made up about 43% of positive COVID-19 cases and 62% of its casualties. Those are large numbers – especially when you consider African Americans comprise only 26 percent of Milwaukee county’s population.

Tim Grove, Senior Consultant with Oprah Winfrey on 60 Minutes.

“Many of our clients are mourning the loss of family and friends, while still facing the everyday uncertainties of this public health crisis,” says Ann Leinfelder Grove, Wellpoint President and CEO.

When the Clinic at Wellpoint moved to telehealth-only mental health visits for continuity of care during Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order, it immediately identified barriers for some clients to engage fully in virtual visits.

“African American families and those who have financial instability in these COVID-19 times are more at risk of lacking the technology to engage in telehealth. This generous grant allows us to close the digital divide and be a healing bridge,” says Leinfelder Grove.

About the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation: Guided by the intention of supporting those in need, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) supports organizations around the world. Since 1993, OWCF has contributed millions in grants and donations to organizations that serve children, families and communities, with a specific focus on youth education.

Wellpoint is a human services organization that strives to address the impact of trauma, prevent adversity and promote resilience for the people in our care. Headquartered in Milwaukee, we empower people to overcome barriers to well-being – poverty, poor educational outcomes, unemployment and discrimination, to name a few – so they may thrive.

Wellpoint serves 5,000 Wisconsin children, youth and adults each day, helping to build life skills, access needed resources and navigate systems of care. We use a framework that promotes the five pillars of stability and a trauma informed perspective. In 2020, Wellpoint celebrates 170 years of serving the community.