Health Forward awards $3 million in Healthy Communities Grants

Kansas City, MO — Health Forward Foundation is proud to award $3 million in grants to 30 nonprofit organizations through our 2020 Health Communities funding.

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

In addition, Health Forward is announcing $360,000 in grants to nine nonprofit organizations that are providing food assistance to people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we all have the ability to live healthy and resilient lives, our communities thrive. These organizations are working to make that vision a reality,” said Qiana Thomason, Health Forward Foundation President/CEO.

Health Forward received a total of 52 proposals totaling $8.3 million in requests.

The following grants were awarded during the June board of directors meeting:

AgencyAwardGrant Description
After the Harvest$175,000To support the produce procurement program, a client impact study, and core organizational operations.
Community Health Council of Wyandotte County$100,000To engage community members, build public awareness, and adopt community-based solutions in order to achieve improved health outcomes for Wyandotte County.
Community Housing of Wyandotte County$47,000To increase the amount of healthy food available for residents and awareness of sound nutrition and healthy food preparation through urban agriculture.
Cultivate KC$150,550To train and support refugee farmers who grow fruits and vegetables for themselves, their refugee communities, and the extended community in support of dietary and community health.
Don Bosco Community Center$75,000To provide support to older  adults by expanding nutrition and transportation services,  
El Centro$179,292To train community health workers (promotoras) and increase engagement in the Latino community. Promotoras will use their knowledge and leadership skills to help build  
Food Equality Initiative$85,000To partner with local food distribution organizations and provide allergen-friendly and gluten-free foods to low-income individuals diagnosed with food allergies or celiac disease and their families.
Guadalupe Centers$68,350To mobilize families and promote healthy lifestyles for low-income children by providing a safe outdoor play area and building a culture of engagement and fun through physical activity.
Harvesters$75,536To provide more than 31.5 million meals to food-insecure people in Health Forward’s service area; work with key partners to research hunger in the Kansas City region; and partner with health care organizations to provide prescriptive food services at health clinics.
Heartland Conservation Alliance$110,000To restore the health of Blue River and improve the health of the communities most impacted by the impaired river.
Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council$122,200To 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$53,000To expand physical environments that support active, healthy living and access to affordable healthy food for refugee growers.
Kanbe’s Markets$100,000To offer seasonal, local produce for small store owners in Kansas City food deserts where residents lack consistent access to healthy and affordable food.
KC Farm School at Gibbs Road$70,317To achieve improved health outcomes in Wyandotte County by providing education, increasing access to fresh local food, and mobilizing community engagement.
KC Healthy Kids$93,000To increase access to healthy food in Wyandotte, Johnson, Cass, and Jackson counties through policies and practices supporting local farmers who provide healthy food in schools, early care and education centers, and other institutions.
Lee’s Summit Cares$109,341To increase the perception of harm caused by electronic cigarettes in order to reduce access and use among Lee’s Summit youth.
Legal Aid of Western Missouri$125,000To 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.
Marlborough Community Coalition$60,000To support an extensive, grassroots community engagement process and to increase understanding of critical housing needs facing Marlborough neighborhood residents.
Mattie Rhodes Center$90,000To promote healthy lifestyles, nutrition, and necessary physical activity to youth and families in the Indian Mound neighborhood and Kansas City’s Historic Northeast.
Mid-America Regional Council Community Services Corporation$127,100To solve blight, health and safety, and food security concerns with nature-based solutions by equipping urban core residents with nature-based land management techniques.
Operation Breakthrough$82,797To coordinate, collaborate, and share programs and resources on gardening and preparing healthy foods with children and their families.
Reconciliation Services$175,000To support Thelma’s Kitchen, the donate-what-you-can café. The café provides healthy, wholesome food and serves as a critically needed community hub.
Rosedale Development Association$98,842To provide community-oriented programs, services, and advocacy that build the social support, economic stability, and civic engagement needed for long-term, sustainable health.
Saint Luke’s Foundation$100,000To achieve increased access to healthy food and prevention and wellness programming for the communities surrounding the Boys and Girls Club units in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City’s Historic Northeast.
The Whole Person$56,469To facilitate a multi-sector collaboration aiming to achieve greater access to healthy practices through athletics for children, youth, and adults with disabilities.
Thrive Allen County$151,496To provide equitable access to a growing trail network, health care services, and local food systems. Funds also support targeted advocacy campaigns to proactively create equitable, active living solutions in Allen County.
Tri-County Mental Health Services$61,261To increase the perception of harm caused by electronic cigarettes in order to reduce access and use among youth and adults in Kansas City, Missouri, Clay and Platte counties.
Urban Neighborhood Initiative$69,530To support staffing needs for the Vacant to Vibrant initiative. To accelerate 
Welcome House$88,719To address nutritional deficiencies and habits that create barriers to short- and long-term recovery from substance use disorder.

The Healthy Communities Grants are the first round of foundation defined grants awarded by Health Forward in 2020. For more information on applying for foundation defined grants, visit

COVID-19 food insecurity support grants

AgencyAwardGrant Description
Belton Educational Foundation$15,000To provide 500 bags of weekend food each week in partnership with Harvester’s BackSnack program.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City$50,000To provide weekday breakfasts and lunches; daily check-ins to ensure members feel connected and safe; and online activities  
Community Services League$25,000To provide food to low-income individuals and to those temporarily experiencing food insecurity due  to COVID-19 related job loss.
Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center$25,000To provide meals and groceries to close to 50 families each day.
Lexington Food Pantry$5,000To provide more than 300 families with necessary food items to alleviate food insecurities.
Mid-America Regional Council Community Services Corporation $150,000To support the Double Up Food Bucks program, which enables participating households to double the value of their limited SNAP dollars to be able to afford fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and grocery stores.
Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund$15,000To provide food and supplies to migrant and seasonal farmworkers and families in Lafayette County.
United Inner City Services$50,000To address food insecurity by providing food kits to more than 100 families each day.
Upper Room$25,000To serve as an emergency food location and provide up to 300 healthy meals daily to Kansas City urban cor