The Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds (the Funds) have announced the first ever grant awards. As part of these awards, DPH, and its implementing partner Health Resources in Action, Inc. will join with 32 organizations across Massachusetts and more than 35 of their community partners, including non-profit community-based organizations, municipalities, and regional planning commissions. The work of these organizations will focus on addressing the root causes of health inequities; disrupting and removing barriers to health; and advancing racial and health equity by tackling institutional and structural racism head-on. For more information, see the Press Release announcing the grants here. Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change (PSE) Grantees All Farmers (Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture)Immigrant Farms for Holistic Community Health All Farmers with CISA is securing farmland for refugee and immigrant farmers in the Greater Springfield area. Refugee and immigrant farmers are valuable to the health of their communities but have been limited by unstable and inadequate land access. By ensuring continued and affordable access to farmland, this project ensures continued access to cultural produce and healing community spaces for local refugee and immigrant communities. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Grey to Green: Increasing Health Equity in Pittsfield, MA by Prioritizing Green Planning in Social and Racial Justice Contexts BRPC is partnering with the community members of the Westside and Morningside neighborhoods, the City of Pittsfield, 18 Degrees (formerly known as Berkshire Children and Families), and Habitat for Humanity to lead an environmental justice initiative focused on green development. BRPC is establishing a working group to conduct an environmental scan of existing community assets and develop recommendations with the City for prioritized projects to increase walkability and access to green spaces within the Westside and Morningside neighborhoods. Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association - CHAPA CHAPA’s Municipal Engagement Initiative CHAPA is expanding and enhancing a Municipal Engagement Initiative (MEI), an effort that brings together community members and municipal leaders focused on working with residents to support their efforts to increase housing production, affordable housing opportunities and availability of diverse housing options. Collaborative for Educational Services Redesigning power structures to promote community-based leadership Redesigning Power Structures will intervene at the level of governance or decision-making in institutions to craft more inclusive structures that eagerly welcome people most impacted by health inequities to be involved in governance decisions that directly affect their lives. Working in partnership with municipalities, agencies and community residents, the program will include grassroots leadership development as well as organizational transformation to work towards a shared power model. Communities that Care Coalition (Franklin Regional Council of Governments) Addressing Racial Justice in Schools The Communities That Care Coalition, is reviewing, assessing, sharing, prioritizing and implementing best practices in advancing racial justice in schools to improve the educational and social environment for students of color and addressing racism and structural and institutional barriers to health equity in Franklin County and North Quabbin. They seek to make policy, system and environmental changes to improve school climate, racial justice, and racial equity in the 10 public school districts in the region. Everett Community Growers (La Comunidad, Inc.)From planning to implementation: Commercial urban agriculture to lift up our green economy Everett Community Growers, in partnership with La Comunidad, Inc. and Cambridge Health Alliance, is (1) supporting the establishment of a Food Policy Council as the leading coalition for implementing the Everett Community Food Assessment & Plan; (2) developing and enacting a comprehensive urban agriculture policy; and (3) transitioning the Northern Strand Community Farm from a farm-to-pantry model to a farm-to-retail model. Franklin County Community Development CorporationIncrease and Support Workplace Diversity to Overcome Health Inequities in Franklin County/North Quabbin The Franklin County CDC, along with several other regional organizations and businesses, is examining workplace culture in the region to identify ways in which it perpetuates bias, institutionalized racism, white dominant culture and institutionalized barriers to health equity. Activities to create cultural and systemic changes operate at the leadership, workplace, and community level. Franklin Regional Council of Governments Policy and System Change for Rural Housing Access The project partners, as members of the Franklin County/North Quabbin CHIP Network, are implementing a multi-sectoral approach to change policies, systems, and environmental factors that are barriers to individuals with a history of incarceration and/or substance use disorder, and whom experience serious structural challenges in finding affordable housing in a rural region. Partners include CHAPA, Community Legal Aid, Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Franklin Regional Council of Governments. Harborlight Community Partners From the Inside Out: Igniting Transformative Change in Racial and Economic Access to Affordable Housing in Essex County Harborlight Community Partners (HCP) seeks to create transformative, systemic change, ultimately leading to affordable housing creation and more inclusive and equitable communities on the North Shore. HCP will do this through the creation of a community education and advocacy initiative focused on affordable housing needs, opportunities, and challenges, as well as the policies that perpetuate these challenges within the region. HCP will unite stakeholders, local influencers, elected officials, and others to learn more about the housing challenges in the area. Health Care for AllIncreasing Affordable Housing in Massachusetts Through Health Insurer Risk-Based Capital Reserves HCFA aims to help address housing stability and homelessness, and the underlying unequal distribution of resources in Massachusetts, by launching a campaign to engage health insurers in impact investing to generate more resources for affordable housing statewide. Lawrence CommunityWorks DyeWorks: A Hub for Family Health & Mobility Lawrence CommunityWorks and partners are addressing housing instability and barriers to healthy living for low-income, primarily Latinx residents of Lawrence. The development of the new building will include affordable housing units, a grocery store, pharmacy, health center, and more, creating a “community anchor” and “healthy living hub” for residents which will ultimately address health outcomes in Lawrence including chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and asthma. Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance - MHSAA Place to Live MHSA is working with regional entities to create affordable housing with health care supports for disabled persons in need of housing. Activities are designed to engage municipalities, community-based non-profits, advocates, health organizations, state agencies, housing developers, architects, and homeless service providers for the purpose of developing and utilizing modular construction or other efficient and effective models of accessible housing. Men of Color Health Awareness — MOCHA (YMCA of Greater Springfield)Disrupting Systemic Structural Racism MOCHA is ramping up five new major action arenas: (1) the formation of Affinity Groups, composed of MOCHA graduates, each of which will focus on one specific PSE issue; (2) capacity building for indigenous leadership through trainings on community organizing and policy advocacy; (3) the implementation of a community needs assessment survey in majority minority neighborhoods; (4) partnering with white allies to address the “empathy gap” by opening dialogues with predominantly white civic organizations; and (5) the conduct of both process and outcome evaluations. Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Education Fund and Massachusetts Public Health AssociationOrganizing for Transportation Justice & Stable Neighborhoods in Worcester and Springfield Neighbor to Neighbor MA Education Fund, in partnership with the MA Public Health Association, is working to create an alliance of organizations in Worcester and Springfield to identify and advance local and state policies to increase access to reliable, affordable transportation and stable, affordable housing for people of color and low-income people. The activities begin with a yearlong community engagement process and focus on achieving better transit, cleaner air, stable housing, and ‘more power’ to grow community advocacy in Central and Western Massachusetts. Healthy Aging Grantees Cape Ann Mass in Motion (City of Gloucester)Cape Ann Seniors on the GO Cape Ann Mass in Motion is working collaboratively with the regional transit authority provider (CATA), Councils on Aging, and regional housing authorities to enact long-term policy and environmental change to the senior housing climate on Cape Ann through systemic change in the way residents access healthy food, physical fitness, and opportunities for social inclusion. Hilltown Community Development CorporationHilltown Healthy Aging Hilltown Community Development Corporation is addressing barriers to safe walkability in the Hilltowns through activities including: policies that ensure each town’s Select Board has new tools and information necessary to update bylaws to improve walkable town centers; system change so that each town has the information and resources necessary to work with MassDOT on the unique needs of their town centers; and environmental changes based on specific physical improvements identified in a walk audit to improve town centers’ walkability. Due to COVID-19, we anticipate engaging residents through social media and video conferencing. Healthy aging activities will prioritize life with COVID-19 in relation to healthy living and community involvement. LifePathHealthy Aging for All: Supporting Older Adult Networks to Build Age-Friendly Systems and Policy LifePath will support existing networks of older people, professionals, and community members who care about healthy aging to build capacity to tackle major barriers around housing, transportation, social isolation, and access to services in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region. MAB Community Services, Inc. / MA Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired – MABVIRaise Awareness and Create More Accessible Age-Friendly Communities MA Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) is integrating low vision awareness, vision rehabilitation, and accessibility into Age-Friendly planning across the state. This project will improve access to services and awareness of needs for this underserved population. MABVI will work with partners to identify solutions to equity and access barriers, provide tools for the field, and disseminate best-practices―strategies which have applicability for all older adults. Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative (Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley)Advancing Inclusive Age-Friendly Communities The MA Healthy Aging Collaborative is creating and disseminating a “Healthy Aging for All Guide” that promotes inclusive age- and dementia-friendly practices and that can be adapted to fit specific goals of different communities, with an overarching goal to encourage culture change that leads to communities more thoroughly considering the preferences, needs, and experiences of all people. Montachusett Regional Planning CommissionMontachusett Age-Friendly Project Montachusett Regional Planning Commission is working to achieve age-friendly designation and create a more livable Montachusett region for residents of all ages. The RPC is assisting communities in long-range plans including identifying barriers for seniors and disabled residents, analysis of needs, and development of action plans with a baseline assessment of age friendliness and indicators to help monitor progress. Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts Age-Friendly Fair Housing and CORIs Health Impact Assessment The Public Health Institute of Western MA is conducting a health impact assessment to identify and implement key policy, systems-level action steps towards alleviating the burden and impact of CORI on older adults seeking to access affordable housing in Hampden County. PHIWM will facilitate health equity-focused conversations between policymakers and older adults who are directly impacted by these issues. Valley NeighborsValley Neighbors is working to reshape and enhance the resource thin senior support system in their rural communities through a neighbors helping neighbors model, advocacy, and community education. Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. – VietAIDVietAID is working to strengthen their existing older adult program to include more comprehensive services and to expand existing advocacy/organizing efforts. Specifically, the VietAID is 1) surveying and engaging current participants on issues they care about; 2) connecting with partners/allies to develop workshops and identify opportunities for engagement; and 3) training current staff and volunteers on advocacy best practices. Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) Grantees Berkshire Regional Planning CommissionCounty Health Initiative (CHI) Community Health Improvement Planning Berkshire Regional Planning Commission acts as the backbone organization for this County Health Initiative which is conducting a CHIP process for the 32 municipalities in Berkshire County. The initiative will organize and engage partners in visioning and collecting data, identifying and prioritizing strategies, and implementing these strategies. Cambridge Public Health Department Cambridge Community Health Improvement Plan – Strengthening Community Engagement and Evaluation In 2015, CPHD published its first CHIP as part of the accreditation process and officially became a nationally accredited public health department in 2018. CPHD is currently completing the final year of its first CHIP and developing its second CHIP. Through this grant, CPHD will further strengthen community engagement; data development, collection, and analysis; and evaluation during the lifecycle of the CHIP, with an emphasis on racial equity indicators. City of New Bedford Health Department Health Equity for ALl THroughout New Bedford (HEALTH NB) The City of New Bedford Health Department is building a diverse and equitable collaborative with the purpose of closely examining the city’s Community Health Improvement Plan to ensure all populations are represented in an equitable manner. Through the review of archival and actively collected data the collaborative will be working to create a report of recommendations and action steps to improve the CHIP. Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester (YWCA of Worcester) Centering Worcester’s CHIP Process in Communities with Lived ExperienceThe 2016 CHIP is entering its final implementation year and partners, funders, and stakeholders are looking toward what’s next for health improvement in the greater Worcester Region. As the 2016 CHIP sunsets and data on final outcomes are coalesced to be shared with the community, a concurrent process is planned to release the next CHIP by fall of 2020. We will center community leadership and engagement throughout all planning and implementation stages of this work. Community Health Network of North Central Mass – CHNA 9 (Montachusett Home Care Corporation)North Central Mass CHIP 2025: Planning for Sustained Growth CHNA 9 is in the process of planning its next CHIP to begin in 2021. The coalition will undergo sustainability and infrastructure planning to support the CHIP, in addition to developing a communication plan, community engagement strategies, fundraising/development strategies, a policy and legislative action plan, and CHIP leadership development. Franklin Regional Council of Governments Franklin County/North Quabbin Community Health Improvement Plan Network FRCOG is facilitating a broad Community Health Improvement Plan Network in the 30-town Franklin County and North Quabbin region. CHIP infrastructure includes convening a Steering Committee and working groups which will guide the CHIP 2.0 spanning 2021-2023. Pioneer Valley Planning CommissionHampden County Health Improvement Plan Engagement & ImplementationPVPC, in collaboration with the Public Health Institute of Western MA and the Hampden County Health Improvement Network is advancing implementation of the Hampden CHIP including building capacity and involvement of CHIP membership and engaging people with lived experiencing in the CHIP. Town of Randolph (Metropolitan Area Planning Council)Randolph Community Wellness Plan Implementation Randolph Health Department and Planning Departments are partnering with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to implement the Randolph Community Wellness which is focused on social, built and environmental determinants of Health. The implementation work will also include sustaining the plan’s Steering Committee, facilitation and actions by a set of working groups, monitoring and evaluation of implementation tasks, and ongoing engagement with town residents and community-based organizations. Town of Ware Working Together for a Healthier Quaboag Hills Region The Town of Ware is implementing a multi-sector partnership comprised of individuals with lived experience, community agencies/service providers, and a cluster of municipalities to plan and conduct a CHIP process in the Quaboag Hills region of central and western Massachusetts, spanning 17 municipalities in three counties. The purpose is to provide data that reflect this unique region comprised of outlying communities in three counties. The CHIP process and data will better describe the needs of the Quaboag region.