“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
In 2015, five funders and 18 communities set out together with the bold goal of advancing health equity in America. They knew that no one entity could create the fundamental change in health our country needed, and so they rallied together with a shared vision—a world where everyone could have the opportunity to reach their optimal level of health.
These innovators represented (and continue to represent), community-based organizations, hospital/health systems, public health departments, local residents, businesses, and foundations that understood how cross-sector and community-driven collaborations are critical to the development of healthy communities. Their learnings, experiments, and failures have paved the way for a clearer, more in-depth understanding of what it takes to create systems level changes for better health.
Five years, 55 communities, and three cohorts later, we are realizing the benefits and impact of this effort in terms of its ability to move resources, action, and attention upstream. A powerful demonstration of this is how the $20 million invested by 16 funders (over what will be six years) has already unlocked close to $27 million in additional funding and resources for participating communities.
What the communities did with those resources and support from BUILD and their partners is even more awe-inspiring. In just the second cohort alone, 19 participating communities working over two years tracked close to 60 new systems level changes involving new regulations, legislative and public policies, new and re-allocated funding streams, and organizational shifts that – together – have helped sustain healthier communities.
We celebrate these collective milestones, learnings, and partnerships that have formed as a result of BUILD. At every step of the way we’ve shared our milestones in an effort to help other leaders find their own Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-Driven approaches to sustainable health. Now, as we look back, we invite you to join us and reflect on the impact BUILD communities have made, and look ahead at what’s to come.