Grants of $60,000 were awarded to fifty midsize cities in thirty-one states through Invest Health, an effort aimed at helping low-income communities thrive by aligning their efforts to improve factors that drive community health, including access to safe and affordable housing, places for play and exercise, and quality jobs. Grant applicants were required to form five-member teams that included representatives from the public sector, community development organizations, and an academic or health-related anchor institution, as well as members from public school districts, community organizations, and local philanthropies. In addition to receiving grants, Invest Health teams will be invited to take part in a learning community and engage a broader group of local stakeholders to encourage knowledge sharing.
Grant recipients include teams from Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Riverside, California; Pueblo, Colorado; Tallahassee, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Peoria, Illinois; Flint, Michigan; Gulfport, Mississippi; Paterson, New Jersey; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Youngstown, Ohio; and Spokane, Washington.
"Public officials, community developers, and many others have been working in low-income neighborhoods for years, but they haven't always worked together," said Donald Schwarz, vice president for program at RWJF. "Invest Health aims to align their work and help neighborhoods thrive by intentionally incorporating health into community development."