On March 16, 2023, NYHealth hosted a webinar with Miriam Parson, Match Program Director of ioby (In Our Backyards), and Krista Ehasz, Co-Founder of the Highland Clubhouse, on supporting local healthy food and nutrition projects led by community residents.

Building healthier, equitable communities that have access to healthy, affordable food requires a variety of approaches. ioby is an organization designed to provide a grassroots complement to top-down policy efforts.

While policymakers can create large-scale change in communities, they may not be tapped into hyperlocal needs—for instance, that parents in East Harlem are motivated to create a “kitchen classroom” so that students can prepare foods they grew in their school garden. New Yorkers have critical information about their own neighborhoods that make them best equipped to identify and solve problems that cut across many issue areas, including healthy food access. When residents implement their own solutions, they build community participation and long-term stewardship. However, these resident leaders are often an underfunded, overlooked source of expertise in their own communities.

The ioby model provides direct support to residents themselves. Match programs support project leaders and local donors by providing projects with a $1 match for every $1 crowdfunded on ioby. This type of grassroots philanthropy can help empower residents with the means to improve their own communities.

Panelists discussed ioby’s latest partnership with NYHealth—supporting local healthy food and nutrition projects led by communities of color across the State—as well as the unique aspects of ioby’s grassroots model, tips for crowdfunding, and best practices from similar community outreach projects across the country.

Watch the webinar recording here.

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