Hodgkins Recieves Sapphire Award

Hodgkins Recieves Sapphire Award
Florida Blue’s Susan Towler and Charlie Joseph with Candace Hodgkins, holding her 2024 Sapphire Award. | Photo/Florida Blue

$50,000 in support will be directed to Gateway Community Services

The Florida Blue Foundation recently honored nine statewide nonprofit programs, organizations and individuals working to improve health outcomes and health care access in their local communities. Among the 2024 Sapphire Award recipients was Candace Hodgkins, president and CEO of Gateway Community Services, who received a second-place award and $50,000 in support.

Hodgkins’ award will be directed to Gateway Community Services, which provides addiction treatment for adults and adolescents in Northeast Florida. Hodgkins is a contributing author on numerous published scientific articles and is active in research that informs the addiction community on evidence-based interventions to assist people in their recovery.

“Our Foundation recognizes the important role community-based initiatives play in strengthening neighborhoods and improving overall health and well-being,” said Susan Towler, executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation. “We applaud these nine recipients for their commitment to improving health outcomes and ensuring families have the resources, support, and care they need to live their healthiest lives.”

The Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, announced the winners at its annual Sapphire Awards ceremony April 3 in Orlando. The awardees shared a combined $525,000 in support for their causes. Since 2005, the Foundation has given 148 Sapphire Awards totaling $7.5 million.

The full list of statewide honorees are listed below.

Individuals who were honored:

  • Carolyn M. Tucker, PhD, is the Florida Blue Endowed Chair in Health Disparities at the University of Florida (Gainesville).Shehas dedicated her career to developing, implementing, and demonstrating the long-term impact of programs to promote health equity, mental well-being, and food security in low-income communities in Jacksonville and Gainesville. Tucker was recognized for her research, leadership, and commitment to her work, her community, and to her field. Tucker received a first-place award and $100,000, which will be directed to her work at the University of Florida. Watch her video here.
  • Candace Hodgkins, PhD, LMHC, is the president and CEO of Gateway Community Services (Jacksonville), an organization that provides addiction treatment for adults and adolescents in Northeast Florida. She is a contributing author on numerous published scientific articles and is active in research that informs the addiction community on evidence-based inerventions to assist people in their recovery. Hodgkins was honored with a second-place award and $50,000, which will be directed to Gateway Community Services. Watch her video here.
  • Barbara Fradkin, BSW, CCM, is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager, and theCo-chair of the Brevard Parkinson’s Alliance (Melbourne), a nonprofit organization that supports individuals, caregivers and families who are impacted by Parkinson’s Disease. Barbara’s goal is to reach as many people as possible with Parkinson’s and help them throughout their journey. Since joining the Alliance in 2017, resources for funding and support groups have doubled, and awareness of resources has increased. Fradkin was honored with a third-place award and $25,000, which will be directed to the Brevard Parkinson’s Alliance. Watch her video here.

Organizations that were honored:

  • Lift Orlando (Orlando) is a place-based nonprofit community development organization working with residents, business leaders, and community partners in the West Lakes community and ZIP code 32805. Its team works to empower residents to create long-term sustainability for their families, while also investing in resources, programs, services, and partnerships that address social determinants of health, and provide cradle-to-career education, and health and wellness services and support. The organization received a first-place award and $100,000. Watch their video here.
  • The Promise Fund of Florida (West Palm Beach) aims to reduce health disparities by helping improve access to timely breast and cervical cancer resources and treatment for women in south Florida. The Promise Fund of Florida is committed to helping women overcome financial and cultural barriers to care and reduce deaths from late-stage breast and cervical cancer. This organization received a second-place award and $50,000. Watch their video here.
  • Lakeview Center (Pensacola) is a behavioral health care provider serving adults and children with mental illnesses, substance use disorders, and intellectual disabilities. Programs and services include outpatient counseling, psychiatry, substance misuse support, trauma care, support for those with serious mental illness and job placement services. This organization received a third-place award and $25,000. Watch their video here.

Programs that were honored:

  • Food Rx is a program led by Feeding Tampa Bay (Tampa) that provides food prescriptions to adults with diet-related health conditions in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk counties. The first food pharmacy in the state, Food Rx gives patients a prescription to visit a food pharmacy co-located at the site of their medical appointments. Feeding Tampa Bay received a first-place award for this program and $100,000. Watch their video here.
  • The Inclusive & Healthy Futures program led by YES Institute (Miami) aims to reduce youth suicide and bullying in south Florida through communication and education. By including both youth and those who care for them in the programming, YES Institute is mitigating bullying, decreasing suicide and self-harm, and creating a positive impact on the lives of young people and their families. This program received a second-place award and $50,000. Watch their video here.
  • The Endeavour Elementary School program, led by Brevard Health Alliance (Melbourne), provides mental health support, medical care, and dental and vision services to more than 700 at-risk students through an on-site clinic. The school-based site is the first of its kind in Brevard County. This program was honored with a third-place award and $25,000. Watch their video here.
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