The Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Powering Healthy Lives
Everyone deserves fair and just opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives. The newly released United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Project (USALEEP) dataset —a census tract-level dataset on life expectancy at birth— shows that people just a few miles apart may face vastly different opportunities for a long life. These new data can help pinpoint geographic disparities in life expectancy and initiate a conversation that leads to action.
The factors that most affect the health of communities often lie outside of what may be traditionally seen as “health.” These factors often affect people differently – depending on their racial identity, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. Reducing and ultimately eliminating differences in health outcomes and ensuring no one is denied the opportunity for a long and healthy life can also be known as health equity.
The Powering Healthy Lives initiative aims to promote health equity and better life outcomes across people, place, and power by supporting community changemakers and leaders to use USALEEP data to advance innovative solutions from across sectors that intersect with health outcomes– such as education, transportation, criminal justice, housing, urban planning and other sectors. Powering Healthy Lives will fund projects that use the USALEEP dataset with interdisciplinary approaches that seek to address health disparities, narrow the life expectancy gap, and promote health equity and social justice. As such, this grant initiative will support projects that demonstrate strong alignment with at least one of the priority areas of people, place, and power.
Applicants may submit proposals that fall under one of the following three priority areas:
1. People: Funding will support projects informed by the expertise of communities who have systematically experienced social or economic barriers to health – based on race, ethnicity, religion, class, immigration status, gender, age, or mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion. Powering Healthy Lives seeks projects led by individuals who have lived experience, or have significant credibility and longstanding relationships with these communities. Projects that select this priority area will have to demonstrate how the expertise of communities who have endured historical and ongoing marginalization is reflected in ways such as: 1) the key leadership of both the staff and board of the organization; or 2) the design, delivery, impact, and evaluation of the project outcomes.
2. Place: Not everyone has the same opportunity to be healthy where they live, especially across race and place. This funding opportunity seeks to support projects led by organizations in regions facing some of the worst health disparities using USALEEP data to better understand their local assets and challenges, grounded in deep knowledge of the community. Powering Healthy Lives seeks to fund projects currently located in and serving communities facing some of the worst health disparities. While this is not meant to be an exclusionary list, this funding opportunity currently seeks to fund projects in the below priority areas:
- Mississippi Delta
- Plains Region (Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming)
- Native American and Indigenous Territories
- Note: Other rural regions not explicitly listed here are welcome to apply
3. Power: Funding will support projects that are committed to building power in communities by advancing equity in changing policies, laws, systems, environments, and practices to address inequities that impact health outcomes. This includes efforts to use the USALEEP data to empower local stakeholders to hold institutions and policymakers accountable for providing equitable access to resources essential for health. Powering Healthy Lives seeks to support projects with power building strategies including but not limited to:
- Advocacy and capacity-building efforts
- Community organizing
- Coalition building and collaboration
- Narrative change and media advocacy campaigns
- Policy innovation that challenges the status quo
- Organizational structures and approaches that shift traditional power structures (e.g. cooperative ownership)
Amount: A total of $1,000,000 is available to fund 6-10 projects.
Eligibility: Submissions are accepted from any organization interested in putting local data to work for healthier, more equitable communities, such as community organizers, nonprofits, local government agencies, public schools, researchers, service providers, and others.
Note: Universities are ineligible to apply as lead applicants but can serve as a partner to eligible applicants.
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