Come on, get healthy with the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge

In the United States, the formal health care system—insurance, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals—tends to dominate the conversation about health. But research is making it increasingly clear that what’s going on in our neighborhoods has as much or more to do with our wellbeing as what insurance policy we can afford or which doctor we see.

In zip codes with  bountiful public transit, inexpensive exercise options, education about nutrition, and affordable fresh food, residents are likely to enjoy good health. In areas without these  essentials, people are much more prone to be dealing with chronic illnesses like diabetes and obesity.

What can we do about that? Well, we thought you might have some ideas.

This summer, ioby is excited to be partnering with the New York State Health Foundation to launch the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge, which will support residents of nine neighborhoods and cities in New York as they take an active role in creating a culture of health where they live. If you live in Brownsville, Claremont, East Harlem, Hunts Point, the Lower East Side, Morrisania, Niagara Falls’ North Side, Plattsburgh, or the Near West Side of Syracuse and have an idea to make your community a healthier place to live, apply by August 1 to receive fundraising training and dollar-for-dollar matching funds to run an ioby campaign and bring your idea to life.


What kinds of projects will we be looking for?

Any resident-led, resident-engaging, neighborhood-scale initiative that will help create a culture of health in your area by making it greener or safer; improving local access to affordable healthy food; promoting walking, biking, or other exercise; educating your neighbors about healthy choices; etc. This campaign is limited to the nine geographic areas mentioned above, but the types of projects that will qualify are wide open: we’re imagining new community gardens, all-ages exercise groups, weekend yoga in the park, bike-to-work promotions, healthy parenting programs, food justice fanfares, creative nutrition classes, pedestrian parades—you name it! (Literally.)

“One of the reasons ioby is really excited about this match is that it cuts across so many fields and topics we’ve worked on with our leaders before,” says Ethany Uttech, ioby’s Leader Action Strategist & Partnership Manager. “It pulls together the impacts of park advocates, food justice warriors, bike education activists—just to name a few—and connects the dots between them. It brings everything together under the umbrella of holistic neighborhood health.”

ioby has been working with some of the NYS Health Foundation’s key partners, like Brownsville Partnership, Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative, and Bronx Lebanon Hospital to help spread the word and get ready to support our local leaders. Leaders will fundraise in August and September, and projects will ideally take place in late 2016 and early 2017.

This is a generously-funded program—we’re hoping to support 50 projects—so don’t miss out! Apply by August 1 and make your fundraising work go twice as far to help your neighborhood get up, get out, and get healthy.

For more information, visit