B  U  F  F  A  L  O      N  E  W  S     buffalonews.com

Ex-mental health commissioner to manage shelter for women

By Deidre Williams
Updated: March 03, 2010, 6:45 am /
Published: March 03, 2010, 12:30 am

Issues that relate to women, health and the community always have been important to Ellen E. Grant.

The 51-year-old Grand Island resident tries to get people to look at their mental, spiritual and physical health as a whole.

“I don’t think a person really well until all those things are taken care of,” said Grant, the new director of the Buffalo City Mission’s Cornerstone Manor, a shelter for battered women.

An author, educator and health care professional, Grant — whose appointment was announced Tuesday — will provide day-to-day management for the Women and Children’s Shelter. She also will counsel women in the shelter’s recovery programs.

Cornerstone Manor, located at North Street and Michigan Avenue, provides emergency shelter for as many as 16 single women and five families. The two-year residential recovery program can accommodate as many as 12 families and 46 single women. Space also is available for adult and childhood education, life skills training and recreation as well as a kitchen for cooking and nutrition classes and a courtyard with a basketball court and gazebo.

Stuart Harper, City Mission executive director, praised Grant for her extensive background in behavioral health, community relations and managerial leadership.

For the last four years, Grant — a licensed therapist — was vice president of community affairs as well as vice president and corporate director of behavioral health services at Blue- Cross BlueShield of Western New York. She also was vice president for behavioral health and wellness, and health promotion.

Before joining BlueCross BlueShield, she was an Erie County commissioner of mental health from 1988 to 2000. She also was managing partner of First Advantage, a Buffalo consulting firm organized in 1988.

The author of “Managing in Black and White, a Guide for the Professional Woman of Color,” which was used in a course taught at the University at Buffalo, Grant also wrote a chapter in the book “Go Tell Michelle: African American Women’s Letters to the New First Lady.” Her contribution involved the importance of advocating mental health and the disparities in health care coverage and delivery.

A member of the National Association of Social Work and secretary of the American College of Mental Health Administration board, Grant received a doctorate in communications and organizational behavior from UB, where she also earned a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

Her community service includes involvement with the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, the Western New York Women’s Fund and the University at Buffalo Foundation. She also is a member of the national advisory board for Black Women’s Health Study.

Founded in 1917, the Buffalo City Mission, a nonprofit organization, provides preventive, emergency and long-term recovery services for impoverished or homeless individuals and families.