VNA of Central Jersey and CentraState Medical Center receive grant from OceanFirst Foundation to help provide affordable health care in Western Monmouth County

FREEHOLD, New Jersey (January 21, 2020) – OceanFirst Bank Chairman, President and CEO, Christopher Maher, recently presented the first installment of a three-year $75,000 grant to representatives of Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (VNACJ), VNACJ Community Health Center and CentraState Medical Center (CSMC). The grant will support the Freehold Family Health Center (FFHC), a new not for profit federally qualified health center (FQHC) facility that opened in March of 2019 in Freehold Borough, an area where access to affordable primary and preventive health care has long been lacking in the community, especially the underserved and underinsured. 

The FFHC is the fourth VNACJ Community Health Center site in Monmouth County and the only one that is a teaching facility. Patient care is provided by faculty and resident physicians from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine as part of a unique collaboration with the CentraState Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program. 

VNACJ Executive Director Tom Thees expressed his appreciation to OceanFirst Foundation. “We are grateful for the financial support from OceanFirst Foundation and also the affirmation of their commitment to augment the access to healthcare services in Freehold Borough and the surrounding communities,” Thees said. 

“Because CentraState is an academic medical organization, we believe it is critical to offer a residency training program that’s meaningful and impactful not just for the medical residents, but also for the community at large,” said John Gribbin, President and CEO, CentraState Healthcare System. “This grant from OceanFirst Foundation will help support our mission to provide disease prevention and emphasize wellness for patients and it also encourages family practice residents to remain in New Jersey. We are grateful for OceanFirst Foundation’s generous support.”

The FFHC offers primary medical care as well as specialty care including obstetrics and gynecology, podiatry, behavioral health services, sports medicine, ophthalmology, gastroenterology, and nutrition and diabetic education. This FQHC model operates as a medical home for patients, much like a family physician’s office, with scheduled appointments for wellness and chronic disease management and sick visits, which are often accommodated on the same day. While Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance is accepted, a sliding fee scale assists underinsured and uninsured patients in need.

An additional benefit of the FFHC is the co-location of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Children and Family Health Institute (CFHI). The CFHI provides access to a broad range of safety net, public health and community-based programs for vulnerable, at-risk populations, including children and their families, through home visitation, specialty programs and public health services that support development of healthy and functional families. CFHI programs and services focus on healthy pregnancies and parenting; early childhood development; community-based health; chronically-ill or developmentally-disabled children and their families; nutrition (WIC); those who are homeless, in transitional housing, struggling with mental illness and/or drug addiction; the LGBTQ population; and people living with HIV/AIDS. Currently, the CFHI cares for more than 55,000 patients annually in central New Jersey.

Freehold Family Health Center also includes a dedicated space for the new Neighborhood Connections to Health Community Coalition administration, which is supported by VNACJ and CSMC. Neighborhood Connections to Health is a coalition comprised of organizations and individuals representing the Greater Freehold community with a common goal of improving the health and well-being of the residents. The community is already benefitting greatly from the presence of the coalition presenting programs, workshops and events to meet identified needs of the community, including a popular mobile food pantry provided by the Fulfill food bank.

Photo: (Left to Right) Thomas Thees, Executive Director of Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey; Nancy Barone, Vice President Development, Volunteer and Guest Services, CentraState Healthcare Foundation; Christopher Rinn, Chief Executive Officer, VNACJ Community Health Center;  Christopher Maher, President and CEO of OceanFirst Bank; Bridget Murphy, Chief Philanthropy Officer, VNA Health Group

About OceanFirst Foundation 

Since its founding in 1902, OceanFirst Bank has built a solid reputation and legacy as a good neighbor and responsible corporate citizen. The Bank’s strong commitment to helping families, organizations, schools and communities throughout central and southern New Jersey meet their financial needs has spanned several generations reaching new heights in 1996 with the creation of OceanFirst Foundation. Made possible by a one-time endowment of $13.4 million approved by OceanFirst Bank depositors, OceanFirst Foundation provides grants to organizations that meet community needs within the OceanFirst Foundation footprint of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Middlesex (Monroe Twp.), Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Through the Foundation, hundreds of local charities and schools have received more than $39 million in grants to enrich lives in areas such as Housing, Youth Development and Education, Improving the Quality of Life, Health and Wellness, and the Arts. OceanFirst Foundation recognizes that there are many organizations worthy of support. A Board of Directors comprised of business and civic leaders governs the Foundation and meets several times per year to review, select and award grants to the eligible organizations that have best demonstrated an ability to positively impact the community.

About the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey

 Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Inc. (VNACJ) is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families achieve their best level of well-being by delivering vital community healthcare services to those in need. The organization’s vision is to lead the transformation of the health of the community to achieve the highest level of quality, access, value and overall wellness. Since its inception in 1912, VNACJ’s  philosophy has been that health care services should be available and accessible to all, regardless of their circumstances.  

VNACJ Community Health Center (CHC)
The Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Community Health Center, Inc. is a Federally Qualified Health Center providing high quality, cost effective, culturally and linguistically appropriate primary and preventative healthcare. In partnership with its patients and consumer-led board, the CHC offers access to comprehensive services designed to eliminate health disparities and improve the quality of life within the communities of Monmouth County and the surrounding areas. The VNACJ Community Health Center of Asbury Park has provided primary, prenatal and preventative care to the community since 1994 and now serves more than 10,000 patients annually with the establishment of additional satellite CHC sites in Red Bank, Keyport, and Freehold Borough. 

VNACJ Children and Family Health Institute (CFHI)
As a safety-net provider, VNACJ is on the frontlines of community health providing community-based health and preventive programs and services for children and adults of all ages in Central New Jersey touching over 55,000 patients annually in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Essex County. In 2012, VNACJ launched the Children and Family Health Institute to improve access to its community-based care for at-risk children and their families, offering a “no wrong front door” approach. Through more than 20 grant- and philanthropically-funded programs, and strategic affiliations with four VNACJ Community Health Centers, a staff of more than 300 caregivers provide supportive services and a foundation to support healthy and functional families who can advocate for their own health care needs and for resources needed to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities. For more information, please visit  

CentraState Healthcare System

CentraState Healthcare System is a fully accredited, not-for-profit, community-based health system that provides comprehensive health services in the central New Jersey region. In addition to offering a full range of leading-edge diagnostic and treatment options, CentraState serves as a valuable health partner focused on the latest ways to prevent disease, promote healthy behaviors, and help people of all ages live life well. Based in Freehold, CentraState is comprised of a 284-bed acute-care hospital, a vibrant health and wellness campus, three award-winning senior living communities, a charitable foundation, and four convenient satellite health pavilions. The system also offers a family practice residency and geriatric fellowship training program in affiliation with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Among its many honors and accreditations, CentraState is one of only 2 percent of hospitals nationwide to earn Magnet® designation for nursing excellence three times. To learn more, visit 


Media Contact: Michele Scialabba
Marketing Project Manager
Visiting Nurse Association Health Group
732-219-7441 /

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