238314 Designing and implementing equity-focused grantmaking strategies to improve opportunities for healthy eating and active living in communities of color

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:50 PM

Christopher M. Kabel, MPH , Northwest Health Foundation, Portland, OR
A compelling body of research demonstrates the strong influence that built environments play in determining opportunities for active living and healthy nutrition. These opportunities tend to be least prevalent in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, exacerbating health disparities. The philanthropic sector can play a powerful role promoting solutions that advance a more equitable distribution of opportunities and resources for health by supporting community advocacy to drive policy agendas.

The Northwest Health Foundation has supported policy advocacy designed to improve built environments and healthy food access since 2006. Despite the health equity potential of these initiatives, the organizations that applied for Foundation funds had not represented the growing diversity of Multnomah County (Oregon's most populous county). In order to diversify the Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) movement in Multnomah County and build the capacity of communities of color to advocate on these issues, the Foundation and the Coalition of Communities of Color jointly pursued funding from the Convergence Partnership Innovation Fund in 2009. This funding, combined with local matching funds, was used to invite proposals from organizations representing communities of color to advocate on the built environment and food access issues that were most relevant for each community. Funded proposals were selected by an advisory board governed by representatives from diverse communities. This presentation will explain how this targeted grant program diversified the HEAL movement and fostered greater collaboration between community of color-led organizations and those with more experience advocating on land use, transportation and food access issues.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain how philanthropic funders can explicitly address health equity priorities within the design and implementation of a strategic grantmaking initiative; Describe how a collaboration of funders and community-based organizations has diversified the field of advocates working to improve opportunities for healthy eating and active living within a diverse urban county; Formulate their own locally-sensitive strategies for advancing health equity through philanthropic support for policy and environmental change.

Keywords: Public Health Advocacy, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed, implemented and led the initiative described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.