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Community Innovations, was a 18-month BHPN initiative funded by The Kresge Foundation that launched in 2019 with the aim of connecting local organizations to other peer organizations; facilitating healthcare-community development partnerships through access to tools, resources and capacity and the Network’s understanding of how best to support community development organizations’ cross-sector efforts.
Community Innovations was designed to reach smaller cities in low-resourced areas and organizations working in low-income communities and communities of color. Through an RFP process, five organizations were invited to participate in a peer cohort to uplift communities’ needs and develop a cross-sector strategy or capacity to engage healthcare in their neighborhood investment efforts.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Innovations cohort demonstrated perseverance and resilience. They successfully advanced partnerships with the healthcare sector, making significant progress towards shared priorities, building relationships, as well as securing additional funding support for their work (ranging from $10,000 from a Medicaid managed care plan to $3.2 million from the State legislature).
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” -Nelson Mandela
When asked, “What successes (small to big) would you attribute to Community Innovations?” themes emerged that mirrored BHPN’s main goals and intent of the grant opportunity. Community Innovation partners expressed that completing a landscape analysis with support of BHPN and a consultant was extremely valuable in understanding the healthcare market, how to approach healthcare partners, and framing for partnerships. Additionally, crafting a solid pitch and presentation to healthcare partners and “becoming fluent in SDOH” were also noted as key successes.
Demand for cross-sector partnerships, but limited local capacity
Sustainable place-based investment led by community members is required
Bridging the divide across sectors
To learn more about the Community Innovation partners stay tuned for interviews where we uncover common challenges to engaging with healthcare, strategies and tools that help, and gather advice for others embarking on this work.