Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Schenectady Inner City Ministry

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

June 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

December 2011 – July 2011


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in New York, taking the lives of nearly 60,000 residents each year.

Blacks, in particular, are more likely to die prematurely than whites: they are 30% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease; 25% more likely to die from cerebrovascular disease; 19% more likely to die from congestive heart failure; and 48% more likely to die from a stroke. A recent Schenectady County health assessment found that mortality rates for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases are above average in New York. In particular, the Schenectady County Public Health Services found that hospitalization rates related to heart disease and diabetes were different for blacks depending on where they lived: residents in the lowest-income zip code had higher hospitalization rates than those living in the highest-income zip code. To address these disparities, NYHealth awarded the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) a grant to implement the Spiritually Sound – Physically Fit (SSPF) program in four predominantly black congregations and one drop-in HIV/AIDS center, all of which were located in the lowest-income zip code.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Implemented SSPF through a collaboration between several community organizations: the Damien Center, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County, and the YWCA of Schenectady;
  • Engaged three congregations—Friendship Baptist Church, Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist Church, and Koinonia Christian Ministry—with a total of 120 participants; and
  • Offered a free membership to the YWCA and incorporated exercise during participant meetings.