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73 organizations and local groups receive healthy activity grants

MINNEAPOLIS 07/26/2013

Can neighbors who do things together improve their own health and the health of their community? Seventy-three organizations and groups of neighbors have the opportunity to find out as recipients of healthy activity grants from Allina Health. The grants support group activities that promote social connections and increase healthy behaviors.

  Street sign says, Neighborhood Health Connection, Neighbors working together for healthier communities 

The 73 selected programs were chosen through a competitive application process that was open to groups of neighbors who want to start or strengthen a neighborhood program, and community organizations, such as non-profits and businesses.

"Interest in these grants was high," says Ruth Olkon, manager of Community Programs for Allina Health. "We received a total of 243 applications from throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Clearly, there is a lot of interest in making communities healthier, and we were impressed with the caliber and creativity of the ideas presented."

The grants, ranging from $500 to $5,000, are part of Neighborhood Health Connection, a community program developed by Allina Health that gives people the tools they need to create stronger connections with their neighbors, and offers fun, creative ways to make their communities healthier.

"This approach is based on more than 50 years of research that shows people with strong community connections and positive social support are healthier and happier," says Ellie Zuehlke, director of Community Benefit & Engagement for Allina Health. "By offering unique tools, support and money to fund healthy neighborhood activities, we can make a difference in the health of our communities."

This year's grants will promote healthy behaviors in all age groups. Funded activities include a Nordic walking program for seniors in Ellsworth, a concussion education and prevention program for youth sports in Northfield, and healthy eating and cooking classes for apartment residents in St. Paul.

Free online resources for any neighborhood

Free resources are available at They include a toolkit that provides information about forming a neighborhood group, as well as sample flyers, group activities and more.

Neighborhood Health Connection is also on Facebook.