Reimagining the Future of Community Health

We’re seeking bold leaders who want to invest in the transformation of community health and advance equity.
Contact Emily Yu at for more information.



The Invitation

Over the past year, The BUILD Health Challenge® (BUILD) brought together foundations, community leaders, hospital and health system representatives, public health department officials, and others from across the country to reimagine the future of community health—one that fosters systems level changes centered in racial equity and is co-developed with communities.

With this goal in mind, BUILD is currently in the process of designing a new, fourth cohort that prioritizes the advancement of racial justice and the strengthening of community power. BUILD envisions up to 20 new collaboratives coming together in late 2022 to bring to life Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-driven approaches that tackle the root causes of chronic disease. By galvanizing the momentum of the fourth cohort and an alumni network of 55 collaboratives, BUILD is poised to help break down the systemic barriers that prevent better health for all.

As the nation recovers from an unprecedented year of challenges, there is a critical need, and window of opportunity, to dramatically improve the systems that impact community health. BUILD invites you to partner with us in this design process. Together, we can foster a more equitable future for community health. 

While the program design process is still underway, core elements of BUILD may include:

  • Cohort of Cross-sector Collaboratives: Each collaborative will be led by a community-based organization, in partnership with the local health department, hospital/health system/payer, and residents.
  • Funding and Resources: Each collaborative will receive up to $300,000 in grant funding. Unique to BUILD is the requirement of a hospital/payer match, effectively doubling the award.
  • Learning Community: Awardees will participate in peer-to-peer exchange with both current and past participants. BUILD will facilitate and support community efforts to address individual, institutional, and structural racism as fundamental barriers to health equity.
  • Capacity Building: Awardees will receive specialized hands-on technical assistance (e.g., policy research, community engagement strategies, etc.) to help strengthen their abilities to confront systemic challenges and racial inequities.


The Impact

To date, 17 funders have collectively contributed $20 million and supported 55 projects across the U.S. over six years and three award cycles. By catalyzing and learning across multisector, community driven partnerships, BUILD is helping to advance health equity by moving resources, action, and attention upstream. In the last cohort alone, BUILD’s 18 participating communities reported 58 different systems level changes involving funding, organizational practices, and legislative policies. Communities also secured an additional $29 million in external funding and support over the course of 2.5 years.

Learn more about BUILD’s impact since 2015


Advantages to Joining BUILD’s Funding Collaborative

  • Leverage Your Organization’s Resources: Each participating funder brings different strengths and capacities to the table, and by joining together as a collaborative, BUILD funders are in a unique position to align their resources. By partnering with others with a shared goal of identifying bold solutions to address the social determinants of health, BUILD’s funders strive to accomplish what might not otherwise be possible in a traditional grant format.
  • Access Exclusive Learnings: By supporting one or more communities through BUILD, funders gain access to learnings from the entire cohort (up to 20 communities), including lessons learned from past awardees. BUILD’s evaluation and monitoring arm is continuously compiling lessons learned and case studies to create an evidence base for scaling impact.
  • Listen. Learn. Lead.: BUILD brings together funders, communities, and leaders from across sectors to learn together throughout the award cycle–and put those learnings into practice. BUILD is designed to help funding collaborative members identify key leverage points for change and share insights more broadly across sectors.

Read about the Funding Collaborative experience from BUILD funders in their Foundation Review Journal piece: “Is More Always Better? A Reflection on the Dynamic Nature of Nationally and Regionally Focused Funder Collaboratives”


BUILD Funding Collaborative Members

BUILD launched in 2015 with the generous support and leadership of  The Colorado Health Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and The Advisory Board Company. Since then, we have been joined by more than a dozen innovative funding partners, including: the BlueCross Blue Shield of South Carolina Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Campbell Soup Company, Communities Foundation of Texas, Episcopal Health Foundation, Interact for Health, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives, Telligen Community Initiative, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Read more about BUILD’s partners, including the funding collaborative for the current, third cohort

Community Examples:

FLOURISH St. Louis: Improving Transportation Access to Help Mothers and Babies Thrive
St. Louis, MO

FLOURISH seeks to achieve large-scale, lasting improvements in the health and well-being of babies and families by impacting entrenched systems that may not be considered traditionally health-related, but are critical to helping mothers and babies thrive—specifically, transportation. In the area of maternal/infant health, access to medical appointments and consistent medical care is key to healthier outcomes and addressing racial disparities in infant mortality. This project engages new, cross-sector partners in managed care, Metro Transit, medical transportation, and policy advocacy to improve transportation access for two high need zip codes, thereby disrupting the interdependent systems that hinder families’ access to fresh foods, health care, employment, and social services.

Bridging Health and Safety in Near Northside
Houston, TX

Residents of the Near Northside neighborhood are caught in a cycle of poor health. They face multiple stressors including health disparities, environmental challenges and public/personal safety threats. This partnership is taking steps to address and amend several of these upstream health and safety issues, including building a safe environment through improved infrastructure; implementing food-as health and exercise-as-medicine programs; ensuring healthy, affordable homes; and bridging opportunities for residents across sectors.

Collaborative Cottage Grove
Greensboro, NC

Collaborative Cottage Grove’s Community-Centered Health program is committed to the transformation of health, equitable community development, and inclusion of cultural diversity. The partners are leaders in changing housing systems to align health and housing and were featured in this PBS NewsHour story with support from BUILD.

Healthy Housing in Greensboro NC

Learn more about all 55 BUILD communities


What do people have to say about BUILD?

“This is the beginning of a shift in the way that we think about providing health care to our community.”
– Claire Richmond, project manager for the BUILD Health grant in Des Moines
“I’ve been in this field for a very long time and the BUILD Health Challenge grant was like a breath of fresh air… This was the first one that really challenges hospitals to say, “Alright, you need to get upstream on this stuff.” I think it’s kind of a ground breaking grant process that’s going on right now.”
Chris McCarthy, Community Health Project Manager at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines
“Ever since BUILD Health came on the scene, it’s had our attention. It’s ambitious, integrative, and it’s taking aim at a huge roadblock to implementing basic health care improvements in this country: data. […] There’s some real firepower behind this thing.”
– Kristina Strain, columnist at Inside Philanthropy
“All of my expectations have been met and more. I really appreciate – and I know that our team appreciates – the support and resources we are receiving.”
–  A BUILD Health partner at a community-based nonprofit spoke highly of the technical assistance and learning collaboratives offered through BUILD



Ready to BUILD with us? Contact Emily Yu at for more information about how you can join us!