Community organizations awarded $275,000 to support resident health and well-being
On June 11th—a sunny Saturday—representatives from 15 of East Harlem’s most innovative community organizations gathered at El Museo del Barrio to showcase their work and compete for a $275, 000 prize (nine organizations could win $25,000 each) to further their initiatives in the neighborhood.
The event, the East Harlem Health in Action Summit, was a joint project of The New York Academy of Medicine, NYC Health Center for Health Equity, Mount Sinai Hospital, the New York State Health Foundation and the Fund for Public Health.
“By bringing East Harlem residents into the process of deciding how best to award $275,000 in grants to organizations in their community, we are advancing the concept of participatory budgeting in New York City. In this case, we have been pleased to support a process that has allowed residents themselves to identify programs that they feel will promote the health of their community,” said Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, President of the New York Academy of Medicine.
Funds for the prizes came from Mount Sinai and the New York State Health Foundation, but the real judges of the competition were East Harlem residents. In an auditorium filled with families, neighbors, students, enthusiasm and meaningful discussion, Noel Manyindo, MD, MPH, the Assistant Commissioner for the East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office, kicked off the day by stating his enthusiasm for the initiative and thanking the community members for their participation.
The audience cheered on representatives of each organization as they showcased their work to address health challenges or increase neighborhood access to healthy foods, art or physical activity. The stakes were high for organizations so small that one founder emphasized her project’s grassroots foundations by sharing that her office was “her backpack.”
After an afternoon of workshops about improving community health through activation and growing excitement, the panel of judges finally announced the winners. While all of the projects add value to East Harlem, the winners were selected for their unique approaches to combating health disparities with community-specific designs.
Health in Action Winners
- East Harlem Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD), for East Harlem COAD Community Education and Dissemination Campaign Project
- Concrete Safaris, for Outdoor Leadership Academy expansion
- East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc., for East Harlem – Up, Out & Healthy
- Exodus Transitional Community, for 21st Century East Harlem Youth Empowerment Program
- Harvest Home Farmer's Market, Inc., for Healthy Seniors NYC
- Nullary Care, Inc., for Cada Paso
- Operation Equivalency, for ABE and ESOL program support
- SCAN New York, for Get Healthy, East Harlem
- Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment (SMART), for SMART Food for Life/SMART Ambassador Project
More than a contest, the summit was also a chance for East Harlem residents to kick back and enjoy music, good food, activities for kids and have some fun together. Here’s how they shared the day:
Saki Kitadai is studying medicine at Tufts University and is interning in the Academy’s policy department.