AstraZeneca - Connections for Cardiovascular Health announces $215,510 grant to Palmetto Project

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $215,510 to the Palmetto Project to support its Heart & Soul initiative.

Heart & Soul was created by the Palmetto Project in 1997 as a disease prevention and health education initiative aimed at the state’s skyrocketing rates of preventable heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. The focus of the Foundation’s grant is on the organization’s current partnership with food distribution sites in the state’s Low Country, which has demonstrated sustainable improvements in clinical indicators for metabolic syndrome among their clients.

“The key to Heart & Soul is a local army of community volunteers, church workers, and those at food distribution sites, who helped design this program in ways that meet the unique needs of our neighbors at greatest risk, and collect the data necessary to demonstrate that it works,” said Steve Skardon, Executive Director of the Palmetto Project.

The grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation will help Palmetto Project expand its successful Heart & Soul initiative into three additional counties - Colleton, Georgetown and Williamsburg, in addition to expanding the number of sites served in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties. Patient navigators will connect clients with existing health resources and give them the tools and education to make lifestyle changes that will reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke.

Originally Heart & Soul was introduced in 600 South Carolina churches to reduce disparities in cardiovascular disease through trained volunteer health ministries. In 2009, the program expanded to local food distribution sites to reach a larger audience. The new venues were more conducive to one-on-one encounters and individualized health education. While available funding limited participation to 1,000, the health data of those participants indicated that 64 percent were experiencing statistically significant and sustained declines in blood pressure after just three encounters with Heart & Soul.

“Cardiovascular disease continues to be the nation’s No. 1 killer, which is why we must work to decrease the risks of this devastating disease," said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, FACC, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. "The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is proud to provide funding to innovative, grassroots programs like Palmetto Project’s Heart & Soul program, which work to help prevent and control the effects of cardiovascular disease in their community."

The Connections for Cardiovascular Health program awards grants of $150,000 and up to US-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health. This year, the Foundation has awarded more than $4.4 million in grants to 22 organizations. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $11 million across the United States to help improve cardiovascular health.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Foundation grant at Applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. EST on Feb. 28, 2013.

About Palmetto Project

Palmetto Project is a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to identify innovative approaches to social and economic challenges facing South Carolina. Through special partnerships with governments, businesses, civic groups, schools, and religious organizations, Palmetto Project strives to bring a fresh entrepreneurial spirit to the challenge of building successful communities in a great state. For more information, call (843) 577-4122 or visit

About the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Established in 1993, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is a Delaware not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) entity organized for charitable purposes including to promote public awareness of healthcare issues, to promote public education of medical knowledge and to support or contribute to charitable and qualified exempt organizations consistent with its charitable purpose. Connections for Cardiovascular Health was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca.

Media Inquiries

AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Media Line 302-885-2677
Shelli Quenga, Palmetto Project 843-577-4122 x119