Health Forward receives $125,000 to explore solutions to food insecurity

Kansas City, MO — The Health Forward Foundation recently received a $125,000 grant from the Convergence Partnership Fund of Tides Foundation. The funding will help diverse partners use storytelling to advance policies that will transform the regional food system, including passage and implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill and reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

Health Forward will partner with KC Healthy Kids to lead the effort. KC Healthy Kids has spent more than a decade rallying communities to improve access to healthy, affordable food. The initiative will also feature two key partner organizations, The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Center for Neighborhoods (CFN) in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County (CHC) in Kansas City, Kansas. Health Forward will provide an additional $50,000 to KC Healthy Kids to further support the administration of the grant.

This partnership will assist residents in identifying how federal food policy shapes access to healthy food in their neighborhoods. Together, these agencies will build on existing strengths within each community and enable residents to champion policies that promote food security. The initiative will engage numerous partners across multiple sectors, including health, food systems and policy, agriculture, academia, business, faith, government, and others to advance priorities at the federal, state, and local levels.

“KC Healthy Kids’ expertise in food policy and advocacy is a great match with the community leadership expertise of Center for Neighborhoods and Community Health Council of Wyandotte County,” said Brenda Calvin, Health Forward Program Officer. “The three partner agencies have complementary skills and bring extensive experience working in racially and culturally diverse communities in Kansas City. These are communities where health disparities and socioeconomic inequities keep thousands of residents excluded from the opportunity to achieve and maintain a healthy life.”

Health Forward prioritizes efforts aimed at improving access to quality foods, boosting nutritional education, and solidifying the link between food security and improved health. Since 2005, the foundation has awarded more than $35 million to build healthy communities.

This grant serves as a capstone to the campaign Health Forward launched last fall to build awareness around food insecurity in our region. The Cost of Food Insecurity calculator estimates nearly 145,000 households in the Kansas City metro area don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

“The remarkably creative efforts of diverse individuals across the community has established Kansas City as a pioneer in developing effective solutions to the challenges of chronic hunger and unhealthy eating habits,” said Adriana Pecina, Health Forward Program Officer. “We’re fortunate to partner with dynamic people and organizations, all of whom understand that healthy eating is, on many levels, imperative.”