2022 Year in Review

By Emily Breen February 16, 2023

It’s been a year full of activity for the Massachusetts Community Health & Healthy Aging Funds. We’re excited to share more about what our team has been up to this year in partnership with applicants, awardees, the advisory committee, MA Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA). Read on for a few of the highlights in 2022. 

Expanding the Funds Community: Welcoming Cohort 2 

Early this year the Funds team began preparing for a second grantmaking cycle that officially launched in May. During the application period, we offered technical assistance sessions to support applicants in developing their proposal. Over 150 people attended the series of 11 sessions. Ultimately, we received 94 applications representing all 6 regions of the state. After a thorough review process, 24 applicants were selected as grantees. Their grant period officially began in October. Since then, we’ve enjoyed onboarding and getting to know all of the fantastic teams.  

Connecting with Cohort 1 through Virtual Site Visits 

Around the same time as the review process for the grantmaking cycle, the Funds team was connecting with our current grantee partners for their second Virtual Site Visit, a form of end of year reporting that allows us to conversationally learn about the successes, challenges, and highlights of grantee work throughout the year. With that information, we learn more about how we can support and connect grantees. We are also able to take away themes and highlights from the visits to include in our annual report.  

A sample of activities from the past year highlighted by awardees include:  

  • Conducting trainings for municipalities in how to engage in legislative change  
  • Acquiring new farmland to maintain and support cultural farming practices and diets  
  • Creating walking maps and audits for numerous towns​ in Western MA 
  • Hiring youth to work in community gardens 
  • Sponsoring music jams at Senior Center​s 
  • Helping enroll many new towns in Age-Friendly Communities network​ 

“There is a real desire to make some connection between segregation, social impact, and the pandemic especially within the past year. This has made our work a bit easier because people are seeing those connections. People are seeing how your zip code has an impact on your health outcomes and the schools you go to.”​   

 –Cohort 1 Awardee 

Showcase & Celebration 

Because of the pandemic, none of the awardees, DPH, EOEA, and HRiA staff had a chance to meet each other in person since the Funds launched in 2020. We adapted to days full of Zoom meetings, often convenient, but without the same level of connection as in-person meetings. In October 2022, the HRiA team finally hosted an in-person meeting to celebrate the Funds and create a space for awardees to network and showcase their work. With COVID-19 precautions in place, we gathered at a beautiful venue in central Massachusetts.

After a poster board session, round table discussions, and networking time, many left with inspirational ideas and synergies sparked in those moments. As a team, we left the event feeling joyful and inspired. Together, we are part of a significant movement to disrupt and remove barriers to health. This work takes time, but we know the daily effort and dedication of these awardees, their teams, and their partners is already improving communities.   

Sharing the Work of the Funds at APHA 

This year we were thrilled to have the annual American Public Health Association (APHA) conference come to Boston. It was an incredible opportunity for the Funds Director, Alberte Altiné-Gibson, to present about the establishment and initial work of the Funds to a new audience. Several team members got to attend and listen in to the presentation and were excited to hear other attendees asking questions and making connections related to the Funds work.  

Alberte said, “Presenting at APHA was a chance to share the amazing evolution of the Funds and our vision, mission, and goals with a national and international audience. People were very interested in how we engage multiple stakeholders to address the root causes of health inequities while addressing the challenges and resistance that come with doing this transformational work.”   


As we look back on 2022, we are thrilled with the work that we have done together, and we thank all grantees and our partners for their effort and dedication. As we look forward to the rest of 2023, we are excited to continue working with and supporting both cohorts of grantees and their work to improve lives in their communities. 

“The work of the Funds is far from over, however with our continued growth and partnerships strengthening, we will see the changes we seek to make one MA community at a time.”  

-Alberte Altiné-Gibson, Funds Director