Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Driving Change on East 125th Street

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

March 26, 2020






Through its Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative, NYHealth is supporting six communities across New York State to become healthier, more active places.

Although all the communities are working toward the common goal of improving the health of their residents, each community may face particular challenges. By offering responsive and time-sensitive technical assistance funding to grantees and their partners, NYHealth can help them meet their goals. In 2020, NYHealth awarded Uptown Grand Central a grant to empower formerly incarcerated youth in driving food justice change in East Harlem.

Under this grant, Uptown Grand Central established the Drive Change training program, through which formerly incarcerated local youth (18–25 years old) learned about social and food justice issues in East Harlem. Youth participants discovered fresh food access points in East Harlem, as well as learned how food justice systems and policies have shaped their community. They also built employable skills—such as cooking, time management, and communication—tailored to the culinary and hospitality industries. Drive Change youth and a coalition of local businesses, health and cultural institutions, and residents also hosted Access and Awareness Days, where the community came together to learn more about the impact of the industrial prison and food systems on East Harlem.