Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

A Public-Private Partnership to Build Healthy Communities in New York City, Phase 2

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

June 18, 2018






Residents of public housing often do not have sufficient access to neighborhood-based opportunities for fresh food, fitness, or public space engagement, and they experience worse health outcomes.

New York City’s Building Healthy Communities Mayoral Initiative was established in 2015 to improve health outcomes in 12 underserved neighborhoods with high numbers of public housing residents across all five boroughs. Two of those neighborhoods—Brownsville and East Harlem—directly overlap with NYHealth’s Healthy Neighborhoods Fund communities. In 2015, NYHealth awarded the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City a grant to engage organizations in activating newly renovated spaces in City-based communities targeted by NYHealth’s Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative. In 2018, NYHealth awarded a second grant to the Mayor’s Fund to further build upon these efforts and connect public housing residents in Brownsville and East Harlem to neighborhood opportunities for improved health and wellness.

Under this grant, the Mayor’s Fund partnered with City agencies, community-based organizations, and residents to build upon and expand programming for fresh food and fitness opportunities. Specifically, it focused on improving health outcomes in Brownsville and East Harlem by connecting more residents to fresh food opportunities; empowering residents to use existing fitness resources and develop new ones; activate underused public spaces; and increase quality recreational space in schools for healthy play. The Mayor’s Fund worked to increase nutrition education workshops, food box distribution, community garden involvement, and other healthy food access program participation. It also furthered resident participation in neighborhood-based physical activity opportunities like New York Road Runners, Shape Up NYC, and local fitness groups; increased activation events and projects for parks, playgrounds, plazas, and streets; and made improvements to school environments that promote physical activity, wellness programs, and play.