Officials with the Wilson N. Jones Community Foundation said its 2017 grant cycle will be the most the organization has given to area nonprofits and health-related organization. Starting Friday, the organization started distributing grants totaling more than $700,000 to 12 local organizations aimed at providing health care to those in need.

“The Wilson N. Jones Community Foundation’s mission is to increase access to health care for the indigent and less fortunate in the area. That is our mandate,” WNJ Foundation President Tom Kyle said.

While this year’s contributions from the foundation are the largest in the foundation’s history, Kyle said the organization has been providing funding for area causes at a similar level for the past three years. When Wilson N. Jones was sold to Alecto Healthcare Services in 2014, a sizable contribution to the foundation was made as a part of the deal. Kyle noted that these funds must go to causes aimed at providing access to health care and related services.

For its latest grant cycle, the WNJ Foundation announced that it will be providing grants to: Grayson County Health Clinic, Grand Central Station, Home Hospice, Family Promise, Greater Texoma Health Clinic, True Options Pregnancy Center, Child and Family Guidance Center, Callie Clinic, Four Rivers Outreach, Women Rock, The Rehabilitation Center and the Boys & Girls Club of Sherman.

The organization started its distribution this year with a check presentation to the Grayson County Health Clinic. The foundation provided $135,000 toward the clinics ongoing prescription-assistance program.

Clinic Director Nanette Pinckney said the funds will also help in a new program aimed at discovering and finding gaps in prescription coverage for individuals in need. Through this, the clinic can help cover prescription needs for patients as they are enrolled in other, more long term, assistance programs through pharmaceutical companies.

Among the medications that the program will cover are medicines aimed at treating diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often known as COPD.

“This is an amazing opportunity to cover a gap we have in our prescription assistance program,” she said.

While the clinic’s program is aimed at providing medication, other programs supported by the foundation target different aspects of health care, including end-of-life care.

Home Hospice, located in Sherman, received grants supporting two of its programs. The group, which provides care to those with terminal illness who are expected to live less than six months, was the first hospice provider in Grayson County and is the area’s only nonprofit provider.

The hospice provider received $75,000 for its palliative care program, which helps patients deal with issues related to chronic disease and other life-limiting illnesses.

“They are still seeking treatment, but they are challenged with dealing with their symptoms, pain, and sometimes emotional care,” Home Hospice Community Development Director Nancy Jackson said.

Home Hospice also received $50,000 toward its charity care program, which provides hospice services and care to those who otherwise would not have access. Jackson said in some cases individuals may not have the insurance to cover this type of care, or they may be ineligible for Medicaid or other programs.

Between the two contributions, Jackson said this is likely one of the largest contribution the organization has received this year.