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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

$2 Million Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund Grant to Assist Cameron Parish, Louisiana

Former U.S. presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton announced a new $2 million Bush- Clinton Katrina Fund (BCKF) grant to assist the residents of Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

Hurricane Rita, which closely followed Hurricane Katrina, destroyed south Cameron Parish's only acute care hospital -- the South Cameron Memorial Hospital. The BCKF grant will support the workforce of Cameron Parish by paying the salaries of hospital officials such as doctors, nursesand other health care practitioners. Community Foundation of Acadiana willadminister the grant.

"During a previous visit to the Gulf to witness the destruction ofHurricane Katrina, I took a detour to Cameron Parish as I used to spendsome time here years ago. What I saw was devastating. Other than the courthouse, all the buildings had been wiped off the map including the hospital, and I vowed I would come back with help," says Bush."Through the continued generosity of some of our donors, the hard work ofBush-Clinton Katrina Fund staff, Cameron community leaders and CommunityFoundation of Acadiana, I've returned with help. We are all proud to bepart of the rebuilding of the much needed South Cameron Memorial Hospital."

Adds Clinton, "A hospital is often the cornerstone of a community and not just inproviding healthcare. It is a major employer and it's a magnet for peoplelooking to move to the area. They need to know they can get healthcare. With this grant, south Cameron is well on its way toward reestablishing this important community facility and I am very happyto join with President Bush in providing assistance to the people of Cameron Parish."

The BCKF grant to Community Foundation of Acadiana will be used tosupport the South Cameron Memorial Hospital's workforce development andsalaries of those who provide healthcare services to a medically underserved area of rural southern Louisiana. Before the hurricane, South Cameron Memorial Hospital was a 25-bed acute care hospital with a 29-bed geriatric psychiatric facility and a provider-based rural health clinic. The facility was completely destroyed, and medical care for the populationis absent.

Cameron Parish residents have few medical options and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals designated Cameron Parish as a Health Professional Shortage Area. The hospital also serves as the first point ofmedical service for all offshore drilling and production facilities off the Gulf coast, and is the 2nd largest employer in the parish.

"Community Foundation of Acadiana considers itself an extension of theBush-Clinton Katrina Fund in receiving this magnanimous grant. The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and its staff are good and compassionate stewards ofgenerous contributions meant to enhance the quality of life of hurricane-affected residents and communities. Through this grant, CommunityFoundation of Acadiana will emulate this stewardship in its efforts toenhance the quality of life for Cameron Parish residents," says Raymond Hebert, executive director of Community Foundation of Acadiana.

Hebert continues, "Basic healthcare services are crucial to anycommunity. This grant will support the development of Cameron's workforceas it provides healthcare accessibility to the residents of lower Cameron Parish. We are really optimistic about the numerous and positive effects ofthis including re-population of this devastated area."

To date the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund has raised $130 million.

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