Health Forward awards $3.69 million in Healthy Communities Grants

Kansas City, MO — Health Forward Foundation is proud to award $3.69 million in grants to 30 nonprofit organizations through our 2019 Healthy Communities funding.

These programs support environments and policies that promote equitable opportunities for healthy eating, active living, and tobacco use prevention.

“We are proud to partner with organizations that are creating healthier communities throughout our region. Supporting this work is one of the best ways to make healthy habits the norm.” said Bridget McCandless, M.D., President/CEO.

Health Forward received a total of 49 proposals totaling nearly $8.3 million in requests.

The following grants were awarded during a July board of directors teleconference:

AgencyAwardGrant Description
After the Harvest$150,000To improve health outcomes through fresh produce provisions for food-insecure families and individuals in Greater Kansas City.
American Heart Association$160,520To support the Reducing the Burden of Tobacco project, which aims to achieve a tobacco-use prevalence of 5 percent or less in the Kansas City region, while assuring that other products do not addict the next generation.
BikeWalkKC$240,000To conduct strategic, targeted advocacy campaigns that expand a coalition of partner organizations, leverage those partnerships to build political will, and proactively create equitable, active living solutions for communities across the Kansas City region.
Cornerstones of Care$288,264To deepen relationships with a network of farms and organizations that provide youth with real-world food production experience and integrate foster youth within the community.
Cultivate KC$125,000To support food system interventions that build and defend a sustainable and healthy local food system for all.
El Centro$136,230To share knowledge of basic household budgeting and healthy eating plans with the Latino communities of Wyandotte and Johnson counties through the Comprando Rico y Sano radionovelas.
Food Equality Initiative$75,000To provide allergen-friendly and gluten-free foods to low-income individuals diagnosed with food allergies or celiac disease.
Front Porch Alliance$50,800To help low-income families and neighborhoods in urban Kansas City improve health, stability, safety, and achieve economic well-being through a community-based collaborative.
Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)$100,000To mobilize residents in the Ivanhoe and Blue Hills neighborhoods to create safe and walkable streets through support of local project coordinators.
Guadalupe Centers$150,000To develop a commissary kitchen model, upgrade equipment to accommodate scratch-cooked school meals, and partner with KC Healthy Kids to plan and implement a farm-to-school program.
Harvesters$180,000To source, store, and distribute healthy food, while building and strengthening partnerships with health care organizations. Funding will also support prescriptive food services and referrals at health clinics, and bring health screenings and resources into neighborhood pantries, kitchens, and other agencies.
Healing House$63,000To increase participation in the healthy lifestyle program for financially insecure participants by providing a fitness center to low-income families.
Heartland Conservation Alliance$120,700To empower urban core communities to restore and sustainably care for vacant lots. Restoration projects will provide a healthy environment and community-based education on healthy living.
Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council$125,000To continue the work of the Sustainable Healthy Urban Living initiative, which engages residents in learning about healthy eating and active living choices.
Jewish Vocational Service$50,000To identify and gain access to vacant lots in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast, develop them into garden sites, and connect refugee growers to the gardens.
Kansas City Community Gardens$291,603To achieve positive health outcomes for the most vulnerable community members by providing essential gardening support and education.
KC Healthy Kids$300,000To achieve equitable access and opportunities for healthy eating and active living in under-resourced areas of Jackson, Cass, Wyandotte, and Johnson counties. Funding will support advocacy communications, education materials, and training.
Lee’s Summit Cares$106,240To increase the perception of harm caused by electronic cigarettes, leading to reduced access and use among Lee’s Summit youth.
Legal Aid of Western Missouri$90,000To improve conditions of blighted, urban core neighborhoods and the overall health of residents through collaborations with private law firms that provide free civil legal services.
Mattie Rhodes Center$140,000To promote healthy lifestyles, physical activity, and nutrition classes to youth and families in the Indian Mound neighborhood and Kansas City’s Historic Northeast.
Mother and Child Health Coalition$100,000To engage key stakeholders and community partners in a policy campaign to adopt an ordinance giving the KCMO Health Department the authority to establish and enforce child care licensing rules on feeding practices, nutrition, physical activity, and screen time.
Reconciliation Services$50,000To support the donate-what-you-can café, Thelma’s Kitchen. The café provides healthy, wholesome food and serves as a critically needed community hub.
Rosedale Development Association$89,728To fully implement a comprehensive, community-based project to build the social support and economic stability of those who live, work, and play in Rosedale.
Thrive Allen County$45,000To provide equitable access to a growing trail network and improve quality of life for residents, including elderly in residential care facilities and senior centers; those who may have different abilities; and home-bound residents suffering from social isolation.
University of Kansas Medical Center Research Institute$95,931To support the research infrastructure and personnel time required to complete a proposed study about barriers to food assistance for Latinos in Wyandotte County, Kansas.
Urban Neighborhood Initiative$50,000To engage residents in identifying needs and mobilizing them to advocate for policies and funding to build healthy neighborhoods for current and future residents of urban Kansas City.
West Central Missouri Community Action Agency$63,984To work with institutions and small farmers to develop a local food market in Cass County, Missouri. Funding will improve the rural-urban linkage of the regional food system in west central Missouri and support an environment that promotes equitable opportunities for healthy eating.
The Whole Person$60,000To facilitate a multi-sector collaboration aiming to achieve greater access to healthy practices through athletics for children, youth, and adults with disabilities.
YMCA of Greater Kansas City$120,000To increase the use of, and referral to, programs and services that contribute to the overall improved health of low-wage, uninsured workers. Funds will support focus groups and the development of a comprehensive corporate wellness strategy.
Young Women on the Move$75,000To improve access to, and participation in, active lifestyles and healthy eating for 250 adolescent youth. Funds will support increased grassroots advocacy efforts to reduce individual and community barriers contributing to high rates of poor nutrition, inactivity, and chronic disease.

The Healthy Communities Grants are the first round of foundation defined grants awarded by Health Forward in 2019. For more information on applying for foundation defined grants, visit