We know what we want for our community, and that includes a place where children can grow up healthy and strong. With a recent grant of $360,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest health foundation, our local efforts to create that brighter future just got a big boost.
The grant, to be distributed over the next four years, will invest in improving opportunities for physical activity and access to affordable healthy foods for children and families in Jefferson County. An additional $100,000 total (spread over four years) n local matching dollars from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and the Jefferson County Department of Health, as well as hours of in-kind contributions from other key partners makes a total of more than $700,000 in dollars and time devoted to fighting childhood obesity through RWJF’s national Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Initiative.
We know that Alabama, like other places in our nation, faces a severe challenge in childhood obesity. But that is not the reason why Jefferson County stood out among more than 500 applicants competing for just 41 grants from RWJF. We stood out because of the Jefferson County Health Action Partnership, which already had in place a vision, a plan and a strong collaboration of partners working to make our community healthy.
Kudos to the Health Department for the foresight to get our community’s feedback on the Roadmap to Health which we are all now trying to implement. And mutual congratulations are due for the key partners, including the Community Foundation, United Way, Birmingham YMCA, Jones Valley Urban Farm, Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners, and Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham. In this case, it takes a community (not just a village) to draw down significant national dollars (and local matches) that will help us all build a brighter future for the next generation.