19 Communities Embark on Two-Year Endeavor to Transform Health in their Communities as Part of the “BUILD Health Challenge”

September 12, 2017
CONTACT: Bryan Fisher
(202) 868-4825


 Unique coalition of 12 funders—in partnership with local hospital partners— to contribute more than $13 million to support innovative community-led health interventions aiming to address the root causes of today’s most pressing health challenges.

 Bethesda, MD—Funders from across the country have joined together to announce their support of 19 community collaborations over the next two years as part of the BUILD Health Challenge. Funder resources totaling $8 million will support multi-sector local partnerships in each community aimed at addressing a variety of upstream factors such as transportation planning, quality of housing, and workplace tobacco policies to improve community health. In addition, each community selected has identified local hospital partners that will collectively add more than $5 million in both monetary and in-kind support to the project.

Now in its second round, BUILD Health Challenge is one of the nation’s most promising efforts to improve health in low-income neighborhoods. By aligning funding, capacity building, and multi-sector partnerships—between community organizations, hospital systems, and local health departments—participating communities target upstream factors that impact health, increase health equity, and lower health care costs. The BUILD Health Challenge approach is based on the understanding that all in the community have a shared responsibility in achieving health.

The 19 community projects located in 12 states have identified a variety of projects that have the potential to dramatically affect the health and wellness of their communities. The communities selected are:

  • Avondale Children Thrive (Cincinnati, OH) – Children’s health
  • Bridging Health and Safety in Near Northside (Houston, TX) – Safe communities
  • BUILD Health Aurora (Aurora, CO) – Children’s health
  • Building Uplifted Families (Charlotte, NC) – Safe communities
  • Cleveland Healthy Home Data Collaborative (Cleveland, OH) – Healthy housing
  • Collaborative Cottage Grove (Greensboro, NC) – Community revitalization
  • Developing a Community-Driven Health Equity Data System to Enhance Resident Mobility (New Orleans, LA) – Transportation
  • FLOURISH St. Louis: Improving Transportation Access to Help Mothers and Babies Thrive (St. Louis, MO) – Maternal and child health
  • Forward, Franklin (Franklin Borough, NJ) – Safe communities
  • Healthy Homes Des Moines (Des Moines, IA) – Healthy housing
  • Healthy Together Medical-Legal Partnership for Improving Asthma in Southeast DC (Washington, DC) – Medical-legal
  • Home Preservation Initiative for Healthy Living (Philadelphia, PA) – Healthy housing
  • New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative (New Brunswick, NJ) – Healthy housing
  • One Northside Center for Lifting Up everyBody (Pittsburgh, PA) – Safe communities
  • Project Detour (Colorado Springs, CO) – Addiction
  • Raising of America Partnership Boulder County (Lafayette, CO) – Children’s health
  • Reducing Tobacco Use Through Innovative Data Sharing and Creative Engagement Strategies (Covington and Gallatin Counties, KY) – Tobacco control
  • Transforming Breastfeeding Culture in Mississippi (Jackson, MS) – Maternal and child health
  • Trenton Transformation: A Safe & Healthy Corridor (Trenton, NJ) – Community revitalization

“Everyone in America should have the opportunity to be healthy, and achieving this vision requires moving beyond prescriptions and pills—to upstream social, physical, and economic influences on health,” said Emily Yu, executive director of the BUILD Health Challenge. “It’s exciting to see how organizations, residents, and those outside of traditional health spaces, are embracing a shared sense of responsibility for community health. This shift in thinking and application of bold, localized, and data-driven approaches is transforming the future of health.”

The initial cohort of BUILD Health Challenge projects, launched in 2015, included 18 community partnerships. Already the project has yielded highly promising approaches such as home remodeling to improve indoor air quality and control childhood asthma; leveraging data to better understand patient needs and behaviors beyond the clinical setting to promote healthy lifestyles; reimagining food supply and distribution channels in communities to address food insecurity, and more.

The BUILD Health Challenge is made possible with the support of: The Advisory Board Company, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, the Episcopal Health Foundation, Interact for Health, The Kresge Foundation, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Telligen Community Initiative, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information, visit buildhealthchallenge.org or follow @BUILD_Health.



“With health systems increasingly assuming financial risk for preventable admissions, our member organizations are seeking the best-practice playbook for collaborations to address community health factors. That is why we are all so excited about the new cohort of communities that will discover and create more BUILD breakthroughs.”

  • Robert Musslewhite, Chairman and CEO at The Advisory Board Company


The BUILD Health Challenge is creating a new norm in the U.S., one that puts multi-sector, community partnerships at the foundation of health in order to reduce health disparities. By strengthening partnerships between local community-based organizations, hospitals and health systems, local health departments, and others, BUILD is cultivating a shared commitment to moving resources, attention, and action upstream to drive sustainable improvements in community health. BUILD is made possible through the generous support of the following 12 funders:

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices worldwide, The Advisory Board Company is a best practices firm that uses a combination of research, technology and consulting to improve the performance of approximately 5,700 health care organizations and educational institutions. The Advisory Board Company forges and finds the best new ideas and proven practices from its network of thousands of leaders, then customizes and hardwires them into every level of member organizations, creating enduring value. Advisory Board, the health care business of The Advisory Board Company, is a best practices firm that uses a combination of research, technology and consulting to improve the performance of more than 4,400 health care organizations. For more information, visit www.advisory.com.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is an independent, charitable foundation with the mission of improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. Since its founding in 2000, BCBSNC Foundation has invested more than $117 million into North Carolina communities through nearly 950 grants. BCBSNC Foundation grantmaking and special initiatives are focused in three key areas: improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations through improved access to medical and dental care; increasing physical activity and access to healthy, local foods; and increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations and their leaders. More information is available at www.bcbsncfoundation.org.

The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy and advocacy, learning and capacity building. For more information, please visit www.coloradohealth.org. Join the Foundation’s mailing list to receive regular updates at www.coloradohealth.org/join.

The de Beaumont Foundation is dedicated to improving the capacity and performance of the U.S. public health system, and equipping public health agencies to thrive in a transforming health landscape. In so doing, we aspire to improve the health of the populations of the communities they serve across the U.S. For more information, visit www.debeaumont.org.

The Episcopal Health Foundation believes all Texans deserve to be healthy. EHF is committed to transforming the health of our communities by going beyond just the doctor’s office. By providing millions of dollars in grants, working with congregations and community partners, and providing important research, we’re supporting solutions that address the underlying causes of poor health. EHF was established in 2013 and is based in Houston. With more than $1.2 billion in estimated assets, the Foundation operates as a supporting organization of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and works across 57 Texas counties. #HealthNotJustHealthcare

Interact for Health is building healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy, and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. For more information, visit www.interactforhealth.org.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit. In 2015, the Board of Trustees approved 371 awards totaling $125.2 million and nine social investment commitments totaling $20.3 million. For more information, visit kresge.org.

Strengthening of the community’s health has been the focus of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation (MIHF) since it began in 1984. The Foundation’s mission is to serve as a catalyst and partner for improving the health of our community’s most vulnerable people. MIHF’s HealthConnect strategic priority strives to connect non-traditional partners with the mutual goal to create opportunities and reduce social barriers to ensure healthy development for our most vulnerable children and youth. Mid-Iowa Health Foundation commits resources to improving health in greater Des Moines, Iowa.

New Jersey Health Initiatives is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF’s founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Learn more about NJHI at njhi.org, and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/NJHI_ or on Facebook at facebook.com/newjerseyhealthinitiatives.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care for more than 40 years. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

Telligen Community Initiative (TCI) works to provide financial support to projects and organizations that strive to improve the health of communities. TCI’s overall goal is to ensure opportunities for health are available and accessible to everyone. Our vision is to empower organizations and citizens to improve their individual and overall community health. Our mission is to initiate and support innovative and forward-looking health-related projects aimed at improving health, social well-being and educational attainment. The foundation provides funding to health-related projects and organizations in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, and Oklahoma.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org