Nonprofits win grants to promote nutrition equity

Ken Hayward. Courtesy Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Five local nonprofits will receive grants to improve health equity through Michigan’s local food systems.

Set to begin in January, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will provide $650,000 in grants to 14 Michigan nonprofits for their efforts to address disparities in food and nutrition. West Michigan organizations to be awarded grant funding include Access of West Michigan, Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, Community Action House, Barry County Community Foundation and R.I.S.E. Corp.

“We are proud to partner with these grant recipients who are dedicated to improving access to healthy, nutrient-rich food, which addresses an important social determinant of health, prevents chronic diseases and leads to better overall health and well-being,” said Ken Hayward, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan vice president and special assistant to the president of community relations.

Local programming to receive grant funding include:

  • $50,000 to Access of West Michigan for its Good Food Systems Initiative
  • $20,000 to Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association for its expansion of Cesar E. Chavez Farmers Market services and community gardening programming
  • $75,000 to Community Action House for its healthy eating and nutrition advocacy at the Holland/Zeeland Food Club
  • $50,000 to Barry County Community Foundation for its Building a Sustainable Local Food System in Barry County plan
  • $50,000 to R.I.S.E. Corp for its RISE Healthy Food Community Distribution program

Michigan-based food policy councils and nonprofits seeking funding were invited to submit proposals and provide strategies to address local and cultural needs within their communities. Those who received funding serve asset limited, income constrained, employed (ALICE) individuals, families, seniors, mothers and children, as well as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities. Community initiatives in which there was collaboration between multiple stakeholders, addressed health equity and displayed strong sustainability plans were prioritized.

“The grant-making partnership with Blue Cross, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is passionately dedicated to ending food and nutrition insecurity, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “The selected organizations and food policy councils proposed plans to improve their local food systems. With our collaboration, we are able to invest in interventions designed to meet the needs of individuals in all walks of lives that meet their needs, putting them on a path to lead healthier lifestyles.”

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