Food deserts refer to areas where residents have limited access to healthy, affordable food options. They are most prevalent in areas with high rates of poverty and can be found in both urban and rural locations. The Convergence Partnership was founded in 2006 on the belief that “health and place are inextricably linked.” They know that people are healthiest when the places in which they live support good health. The Convergence Partnership works on strategies to support the creation of environments that foster good health for all communities. As part of this effort, they created the Convergence Innovation Fund in 2009 to create sustainable resources for communities which are lacking.
The 2012-2015 initiative of the Innovation Fund is calling for proposals that will “enhance the built environment and/or expand healthy food access in low-income communities and communities of color.” Built environment refers to manmade surroundings, such as buildings, transportation systems and public resources. An environment which gives people easy access to stores with nutritional food options, necessary services, recreation and affordable transportation and which have high “walkability” and “bikability” will naturally promote the good health of the residents.
The Innovation Fund is inviting local and regional philanthropic institutions to submit their proposals by the deadline of Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 5 p.m. (PT). The Fund will provide 50% matching dollars — up to a total of $200,000. Interested organizations are encouraged to view the informational webinars found here on the Convergence Partnership website. That page also contains a link to the project’s RFP and other helpful materials.