Editor's Note: The following is a press release from Richfield Community Council's Family Stability Work Group and do.town.
The do.town initiative builds off the success of Blue Cross’ popular do. Campaign, which encourages people to “groove your body every day” by moving more and eating better—as well as the numerous healthy initiatives that are currently under way in each of the cities (Bloomington, Edina and Richfield).
The project begins with outreach and listening sessions in each community. The goal is to better understand what barriers residents and leaders believe currently exist and then help all three communities make the changes that can help community members easily make healthy choices a part of their daily lives. Examples might be working to make biking or walking to school safer; helping improve access to healthy foods at work, school and in faith organizations; or allowing for more community gardens to help serve people with low incomes. The options are numerous and each city will determine what changes and improvements make the most sense for them to tackle.
Unhealthy eating and physical inactivity take an enormous toll on quality of life and our pocketbooks. They contribute to preventable diseases and conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. For example, two-thirds of adult Minnesotans are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. If trends continue unchecked, Blue Cross found treating obesity-related diseases will add nearly $3.7 billion to Minnesota’s annual health care costs by 2020.
The Richfield Family Stability Work Group (part of Richfield Community Council) will be awarding grants for initiatives that support health outcomes related to the social connectedness of low income community members in Richfield. Social connectedness has been recognized nationwide as a key factor in projecting, improving, and maintaining health.
The Minnesota Department of Health Project on Social Connectedness defined their vision for social connectedness as “A society in which all people are connected to the people, processes and systems they need to live healthy, productive and meaningful lives”. The purpose of the funding is to engage low income community members and provide them to opportunities to increase their social network. Long-term, these activities can lead to increased social connectedness within the neighborhood and improved health outcomes. Funding for the mini-grants is provided by BlueCross Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota
Grants will be awarded in $5,000 and $10,000 increments.
Application deadline May 1, 2012 and funds must be used by February 28, 2013.
Eligible applicants include units of government as well as organizations designated as nonprofit under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS code.
Successful application will describe projects that demonstrate likelihood of sustainability without subsequent funding from this funding source.
Examples of Allowable Programs/Activities
1. Engage the apartment community in creating opportunities for more active involvement in the broader community and increase utilization of resources.
2. Explore the formation of a Latino organization (initiative) which can seek to address Latino issues and needs to/with the broader community.
3. Explore (after school) services/programs for children/youth (and their families).
4. Develop and promote bicycle riding program for the general resident population with an emphasis on low income families.
5. Utilize existing food and nutrition programs/services creating collaborations and expanded and sustained efforts focusing on the low income population.
6. Build or develop events and activities that increase opportunities for participants to engage in physical activities which can improve their well being and develop related skills.
Grant Applications will be reviewed with the following considerations:
1. Low income populations and new immigrant families will be reached.
2. Community-wide dialogue will develop among participants and the broader community.
3. Policy changes will be made which contribute to an improved community (e.g. health, public safety, environment, etc.)
4. Relationships and bonds will be built among participants.
5. Project and/or program have ongoing sustainability.
Submit applications by e-mail to LChambers@cityofrichfield.org. Questions may be directed to Camillo DeSantis at 612-866-5171 or Lynnette Chambers at 612-861-9773 or the e-mail address listed above.