Coming together across sectors and national geography, 10 funders will join forces to significantly expand the BUILD Health Challenge, a national award program that supports communities to take innovative and collaborative approaches toward health improvement, the organizations announced today.

The BUILD Health Challenge works closely with communities throughout the country to facilitate high-impact, upstream solutions to prevent and mitigate complex and emerging problems before they escalate into downstream crises. Two years after launching the groundbreaking effort, the original five funding partners – Advisory Board, de Beaumont Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – welcome Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (Durham); Episcopal Health Foundation (Houston, TX); Mid-Iowa Health Foundation (Des Moines); New Jersey Health Initiatives (Camden); and Telligen Community Initiative (West Des Moines, IA) as new funders to this growing initiative. The addition of these regional grantmakers will greatly enhance the reach and local impact of the initiative.

The BUILD Health Challenge seeks to align funding and leverage partnerships between community organizations, local hospital systems, and local health departments to target social determinants of health, health disparities, health equity, and upstream factors that impact health care outcomes and costs. Awards come with significant technical assistance and support to help communities reach their goals. The BUILD Health Challenge will award at least 17 community-led grants.

“The BUILD Health Challenge has been incredibly successful, with exactly the type of bold, local, data-driven projects that change communities,” said Rachel Keller Eisman, executive director of the BUILD Health Challenge. “By adding new funders with more regional and issue expertise, we can further hone approaches that demonstrably improve the health of communities.”

In 2015, the BUILD Health Challenge selected 18 cities from an applicant pool of more than 300 to catalyze a shift in focus from the consequences of disease to their true causes. These communities have built local partnerships to tackle a wide range of issues, from improving low-income housing to reduce asthma rates to enhancing access to fresh fruits and vegetables as a treatment for obesity.

Interested parties can learn more about the application beginning Nov. 29 and reference the following dates:

• Dec. 12 – Informational webinar for applicants
• Dec. 15 – Informational webinar for applicants
• Jan. 10 – Round 1 application period begins
• Jan. 31 – Informational webinar for applicants
• Feb. 21 – Round 1 application due