The best doctors and nurses know that taking care of little people when they’re sick is just a small part of ensuring healthy children and thriving families. For that reason, in recent years Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been funding innovative efforts by hospital employees to address patient wellness in its many forms — nutrition, mental health, literacy, exercise, and financial health.

On Thursday, CHOP marked the five-year anniversary of its CHOP Cares Community Fund and Grants Program by announcing a new funding effort to further support successful community programs started by staff members.

“Today, we announced CHOP Cares Excel, a new initiative that awards up to $35,000 to past CHOP Cares Grant recipients whose projects have made a meaningful impact on the community so they can grow them and service even more children,” said Madeline Bell, hospital president and CEO.

CHOP Cares has awarded 155 grants and nearly $500,000 for employees’ projects since 2014. Those first grants, capped at $5,000 in seed funding, were raised through the sale of CHOP specialty license plates, as well as individual donations and hospital contributions.

Some of the programs funded through CHOP Cares efforts have included free exercise and yoga classes, breastfeeding support initiatives, financial literary support, support groups for transgender children and their families, and anti-hunger efforts.

“CHOP employees want to improve the health of children in our community, and that’s why we offer them a chance to compete for these grants — and encourage ongoing volunteer efforts,” said Peter Grollman, senior vice president of external affairs.

In addition, Citizens Bank announced Thursday its plans to contribute $50,000 for the second year in a row to the CHOP-supported South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center. The facility houses a Free Library branch, the Philadelphia Health Center 2, CHOP Primary Care in South Philadelphia, and the DiSilvestro playground.