LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 22, 2016) A little more than half way into a five-year, $3 million investment in reducing Kentucky students' risk of developing chronic diseases, seven cross-sector community coalitions are making marked progress in policy changes, built environment improvements and educational programs, according to a report released by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The coalitions are using grants, matched by local dollars, as well as research and other support from the Foundation under its "Investing in Kentucky's Future" (IKF) initiative.

Three of the coalitions have used their work under the initiative to gain an additional seven grants from other organizations, according to the report, written by the Center for Community Health and Evaluation, an external evaluator commissioned by the Foundation to review the effectiveness of its investments.

Six of the seven coalitions are working on reducing childhood obesity. They are: Partnership for a Healthy McLean County, Purchase Area Connections for Health, Fitness for Life Around Grant County, Breathitt County Health Planning Council for Children, Perry County Wellness Coalition, and Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition. The seventh, Bounce Coalition in Jefferson County, is working to foster resiliency in children in both school and out-of-school settings by addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (known as ACEs).

To date, coalitions supported by the initiative have achieved or contributed to:

  • 17 policy changes in their schools and communities, including shared-use agreements (enabling school playgrounds and fitness facilities to be used by the community after school hours), healthier foods at park concessions, and "complete streets" (designed to ensure safe access for motorists, pedestrians and transit riders of all ages and abilities);
  • Several improvements to community and school fitness facilities, including playgrounds, walking trails and sidewalks; and
  • School-based curriculum related to nutrition and physical activity, or to provide school-based staff training to recognize and respond to symptoms of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

"The coalitions are reporting that the grants, research, relationship-building support and other assistance we've provided have helped them tackle the health needs of their communities' children in new and bigger ways," said Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "For many of the coalitions, rural and urban, their work under the 'Investing in Kentucky's Future' initiative is their first community-wide effort to address the issue they've identified. Our aim is to support these coalitions in expanding their membership, formalizing their structure, gain momentum, and strengthening their partnerships with schools to create successful programs that can be replicated across the Commonwealth."

The interim evaluation report of the Foundation's Investing in Kentucky's Future Initiative, prepared by the Center for Community Health and Evaluation, is available here.

About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested over $26 million in health policy research, advocacy and pilot project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by informing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter and on Facebook, or visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.

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