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New Jersey Healthy Communities Network announces $860G in grants

February 25, 2016 | Community News and Media, Media Coverage

Originally posted on

The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network, through a funding collaborative, awarded $860,000 to 43 nonprofit organizations to enhance the built environment and develop policies to support healthy eating and active living. Grant awards are $10,000 per year for two years, with the stipulation that action plans and goals are being met by the end of year one.

“Our community grants program is made possible by the generous support of a funding collaborative,” said Bill Lovett, Executive Director of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. “Their support allows us to not only award grants, but also to provide technical assistance and to develop an evaluation tool to measure the impact of the work.”

Each member of the funding collaborative provides both financial and in-kind contributions such as website development, administrative support, or GIS mapping skills, for example, to the collective impact model. The funding collaborative includes: Atlantic Health System, New Jersey Department of Health, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (New Jersey YMCA State Alliance), Partners for Health Foundation, and Salem Health and Wellness Foundation.

“At Atlantic Health System, our vision is to empower our communities to be the healthiest in the nation, and we know that to achieve this vision we need to invest in our community partners, build lasting relationships, and promote policy and environmental change. We are proud to be a part of this effort.” As part of the collaborative, Ashley also serves as a regional technical assistance coach for a grantee cohort,” said Dr. Ashley Anglin, coordinator-healthy communities initiative for funding partner Atlantic Health System.

Each grant will address at least one strategy to increase opportunities for physical activity and at least one strategy to improve access to healthy eating. Funded organizations are required to engage a minimum of three community partners.

Local grantees include: Advocates for Children of New Jersey (Plainfield), Greater Somerset Public Health Partnership (Hillsborough, Somerville), Hunterdon County YMCA (Clinton Township), Meadowlink (Fanwood-Scotch Plains), Meadowlink (Plainfield), Raritan Bay Area YMCA (Perth Amboy), Raritan Valley YMCA (North Brunswick, South Brunswick, Milltown), RWJ University Hospital Foundation (New Brunswick), Somerset Healthcare Foundation (North Plainfield, Green Brook, Bridgewater), Woodbridge Dept. of Health and Human Services (Woodbridge).

Among the 43 organizations receiving grants, project interventions include: park improvements, wellness policies, farmers markets, open streets, food audits, healthy corner stores, bike racks, walk/bike safety audits and gardens. All of the supported projects make the healthy choice the easy choice. Besides technical assistance, other grantee benefits include: membership in a statewide cohort, capacity building webinars and meetings, social media coaching, peer-to-peer learning, and connection to resources and best practices.

“This is only the beginning of a large scale health movement to create positive change – greater access to healthy food and opportunities to be physically active in all NJ neighborhoods, schools, childcare centers and worksites – where we live, learn, work and play,” said Peri Nearon, director of external affairs and strategic initiatives for the New Jersey Department of Health.

Since its inception in 2013, the signature community grants program awarded over $1.86 million in grants to grantees. The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network also facilitates quarterly statewide Communities of Practice to share best practices, provide networking and professional development opportunities, and encourage collaboration. Within these communities of practice, public health advocates are connected to other people and organizations with shared goals and agendas and are recognized as leaders in building healthy communities.

To learn more, be a partner, participate in communities of practice, or join the funding collaborative, visit or email

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