More than $250,000 in grant money will be distributed this year through a foundation created by the sale of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston to a for-profit business.

The awards will likely range from $10,000 to $100,000, but proposals for lesser amounts will be considered, according to a news release from the Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation.

Nonprofit, tax-exempt groups with 501(c)(3) classification from the Internal Revenue Service are eligible to apply, as well as governmental entities that use the money following the foundation's criteria.

The funds must go to improving health and wellness or preventing disease in individuals who live in the area covered by St. Joe's. The hospital serves Nez Perce, Latah, Idaho, Lewis and Clearwater counties in Idaho; Asotin, Garfield and Whitman counties in Washington; and Wallowa County in Oregon.

"We encourage local organizations to bring us your best ideas which need funding to achieve this goal," said Mark Havens, chairman of the board of community advisers for the foundation.

Short-form applications are being accepted by the foundation until 5 p.m. June 30. They are available at www.lewisclarkhealth.org. The foundation's board of community advisers will review the plans and invite selected organizations to complete a full grant application in August. Final decisions will be made in November, and the money will be distributed in December. Those with questions about the process can call (208) 664-6448.

The foundation was created as a term of the $109 million purchase of St. Joe's. It was reviewed by the Idaho Attorney General's office under the Nonprofit Hospital Sale or Conversion Act.

Ascension Health sold St. Joe's to RCCH Healthcare Partners last spring, turning the nonprofit into a for-profit business for the first time in its more than 100-year history. RCCH Healthcare Partners is based in Tennessee, operates other hospitals and is a part of the multibillion-dollar investment firm Apollo Global Management.

The foundation received $23 million from the sale and another $2 million from RCCH Healthcare Partners.

The 2018 grants are the first in what will be an annual process to meet a requirement that private foundations distribute 5 percent of their assets annually. The amount of next year's awards is expected to be higher, because the foundation will have had longer to grow its investments.

Idaho Trust Bank was designated as the trustee by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

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Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.