Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

NYHealth Building Healthy Communities Assessment

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

May 12, 2021







NYHealth’s Building Healthy Communities priority area used a place-based approach to improve the health of six communities across the State.

Over the course of six years and with almost $20 million in grant support, NYHealth partnered with each community to increase access to healthy, affordable food and to improve the built environment to make physical activity easier for residents. In each neighborhood, community convener organizations acted as the main coordinators for the work, assembling and mobilizing partnerships to achieve shared goals. Additional public and private investments at the city, State, and national levels have also emerged to support place-based efforts to improve health. It is important for the Foundation to critically evaluate the philanthropic strategies that it used, glean lessons for itself and the broader field, and help inform future efforts. In 2021, NYHealth awarded Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors a grant to assess NYHealth’s philanthropic and grantmaking strategies for the Building Healthy Communities priority area, which came to a close at the end of 2020.

Under this grant, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors performed a comprehensive assessment to evaluate grantee work and the Foundation’s impact on communities. It reviewed a range of documents and materials generated during the Building Healthy Communities program, including requests for proposals; grantee reports; evaluation reports; publications and presentations; meeting agendas and materials; and community-facing outreach and other materials. It also conducted individual or group interviews with a range of stakeholders, including grantees, local residents, leaders in healthy food and active living, government stakeholders, other funders, capacity-building partners, and NYHealth staff and Board members. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors synthesized findings and lessons learned into a report that provides an overall assessment of NYHealth’s approach to place-based grantmaking and offers broad learnings and implications for other foundations.