Applications being sought for Health Equity Fund grants

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Local nonprofits working to make Louisville a better place for minorities to thrive have until April 22 to apply for the next set of grants from the Louisville Health Equity Fund.

The application period opened Monday for the grants, which support nonprofits led by people of color striving to build a racially equitable Louisville Metro.

“We live in a community where there is a 13-year difference in life expectancy based on where you live and your race, and so this is specifically a call for proposals inviting organizations who are led by people of color, so those most impacted by the status quo, to change the status quo and to focus on health equity,” said Mary Grissom, senior program officer at the Community Foundation of Louisville.

Up to four grants of $20,000 each will be awarded this year.

“If we get the results we want, we’ll make a second grant to those same organizations in year two,” Grissom said. “We want to build a cohort of organizations that are working for a more equitable Louisville.”

The Health Equity Fund was started with $25,000 in Culture of Health Prize money from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has grown to $160,0000 thanks to contributions from various groups, including the Community Foundation of Louisville, the Humana Foundation, Metro United Way and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.

Some past recipients of the Health Equity Fund grants include the YMCA of Greater Louisville and Doctors & Lawyers for Kids.

The latest grants are designed to help organizations impact racial equity at the “systems level,” realizing that racism is often institutional.

“We understand that the health inequities we see in our community are not simply the result of individual choices,” Grissom said. “They are the result of the choices that people have, and so we want to build better systems from a policy standpoint.”

An information session about the latest grant opportunity will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, at Chef Space, 1812 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.

To be eligible for the grants, applicants must:

  • Be 501c3 nonprofit organizations, or be fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 nonprofit organization in good standing;
  • Have people of color as a majority of organizational leadership (Board, Executive Director or equivalent, and supervisory staff);
  • Be able to demonstrate how their work is significantly advancing (or has great potential to significantly advance) health equity;
  • Have an annual budget of less than $250,000 and/or share compelling evidence that its work is informed by and connected to the communities being served;
  • Be able to demonstrate how the funding will allow the organization to better address obstacles to health equity.