Money and health often go hand in hand.
Stress over finances can make people ill, and illnesses are a drain on people’s resources, especially if they are uninsured.
It’s perhaps appropriate, then, that Blackhawk Community Credit Union plans to donate its administrative building to HealthNet of Rock County.
On Tuesday, the credit union announced a plan to give its 15,000-square-foot administrative building at 2707 Kennedy Road to HealthNet, the Janesville-based nonprofit that provides health and dental care to the uninsured and underinsured.
The gift will coincide with the 2021 opening of the credit union’s new headquarters in downtown Janesville.
Blackhawk CEO and President Sherri Stumpf said the credit union board was supportive of the decision.
“When I told the board about it, everybody had a story about how HealthNet had helped someone they knew—a neighbor or a family member with cancer,” Stumpf said.
The building is zoned as a medical facility, previously housing a title company and a chiropractic clinic, Stumpf said. The chiropractic clinic had a room with lead walls for taking X-rays. The bottom level has moving file cabinets which will be perfect for patient charts.
The correlation between physical health and financial insecurity has been long documented, but another study out of the University of Washington supports that idea, Stumpf said.
The stress of financial insecurity can lead to health problems, and health problems and their accompanying medical bills can lead to stress. Illness, too, can make it more difficult to work.
Recognizing that connection led Blackhawk to plan space for a financial counselor, a nutritionist, yoga and wellness initiatives in its new headquarters, Stumpf said.
The connection between a worry-free financial life and healthy life was “top of mind” when Stumpf learned that HealthNet was looking for additional space.
HealthNet of Rock County has been considering a move for some time, HealthNet CEO Ian Hedges said.
HealthNet occupies 4,000 square feet at 27 W. Milwaukee St. and about 2,000 square feet at its dental clinic near Creston Park Mall. Along with additional space, the new building will have convenient parking, a spot on the Janesville-Beloit Express bus line and better handicapped accessibility.
The organization’s second-floor office downtown is handicapped accessible, but patients have to travel down a side alley to get to the accessible entrance.
“And you can imagine what that’s been like this year with all the snow and the cold,” Hedges said.
HealthNet also wants to have dental and medical services under one roof.
“We want to be the one-stop health care shop where our most vulnerable residents will feel comfortable, where they can better themselves,” Hedges said.
HealthNet is the only free clinic in Rock County. About 55 percent of its patients come from Janesville, and about 40 percent come from Beloit.
HealthNet’s services change people’s lives, Hedges said.
“When someone gets their teeth fixed or gets dentures, that makes them so much more confident,” Hedges said. “They become so much more confident. They get a job, or they’ve gone from $9-an-hour to $15-an-hour jobs.”
Even though the building is a gift, HealthNet will have to raise money for dental chairs and equipment, plumbing and other changes. Hedges estimates it could cost between $1.5 million and $2 million. Fundraising will begin later this spring or summer.