Premier Health to Contribute $400,000 to Gem City Market Capital Campaign

Investment of $80,000 annually for five years meant to address West Dayton’s “food desert” 

DAYTON, Ohio (December 13, 2017) – Premier Health today is announcing plans to contribute $400,000 toward a grocery store proposed for a portion of West Dayton that has limited access to fresh food. Mary Boosalis, Premier Health’s president and CEO, was joined by former Congressman, Ambassador Tony Hall, in presenting a check to the Gem City Market.

The Gem City Market is scheduled to open in 2019 on Salem Avenue just across the Great Miami River from Downtown. The grocery store’s opening comes at a crucial time for Dayton. In November, a grocery store in East Dayton was destroyed by fire, and another grocery store in West Dayton has been slated for closure. Both of those stores have served parts of the city that have limited access to fresh meat and produce.

In fact, in a 2016 report from the Food Research and Action Center, Dayton was ranked the second worst city in the nation for “food hardship” in households with children. “Food hardship” means that, at some point during the year, the household had limited access to an adequate supply of food due to a lack of resources.

“Leaders of the Gem City Market intend to move the needle on food hardship in our community, and we have faith in their work,” said Mary Boosalis, president and CEO of Premier Health. “That’s why, on behalf of Premier Health, I’m pleased to announce today that we will be donating $80,000 annually for the next five years – a total of $400,000 – to the Gem City Market.”

“We cannot have a healthy and vibrant community if nearly one-third of our families with children struggle with food hardship,” said Tony Hall, Founder, Hall Hunger Initiative.  “With the tremendous support of anchor institutions like Premier Health for the Gem City Market, we are one step closer to creating a hunger-free community.  I am deeply grateful to Mary Boosalis and her colleagues for their unwavering commitment and leadership.”  

“On behalf of the hundreds of community member-owners of the cooperative, we are deeply grateful for Premier's partnership," said Amaha Sellassie, president of the Gem City Market Board. “In addition to the health benefits of having access to fresh food in our neighborhood, this significant investment in our community will create jobs and spur other economic development.  We're excited to be one step closer to making the Market a reality.”

The Greater Dayton Union Co-op Initiative prepared the market plan, which underwent a robust review process that included Premier Health board members.

“We know access to healthful fruits and vegetables is a cornerstone for a healthy community,” said Jeffrey Levine, a Premier Health board member who chairs the board’s community benefit subcommittee. “The group’s leaders put together a strong proposal to make this initiative a reality. The plan has merit and is earning broad support.”

The investment in Gem City Market is consistent with more than a decade of investment by Premier Health in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the health system’s Good Samaritan Hospital. The hospital has dedicated about $10 million for neighborhood improvements since 2004.

“Community partnerships are ingrained in our culture at Premier Health and Good Samaritan Hospital,” said Eloise Broner, president of the hospital. “Those connections strengthen our ability to carry out our mission and best serve our neighbors.”

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