The Backyard Initiative
Allina Health contact

Alison Pence, director, West Metro
Community Engagement
612 262-1451

The Backyard Initiative


The Power of Community: Improved Health

Launched in 2008, the 10-Year Backyard Initiative was a successful partnership between residents of seven south Minneapolis neighborhoods and Allina Health, facilitated and led by the community based nonprofit the Cultural Wellness Center. Despite having access to world-class medical care right in their "backyard," many residents in the area experience poor health outcomes.

The Backyard Initiative went beyond medical care to improve health by improving the capacity of residents to strengthen their own health. Through the Backyard Initiative, residents drew upon their own knowledge, skills, and cultural values to improve their own health. 

A 2016 survey evaluation showed the Backyard Initiative achieved its goal of increasing the community's health by significantly increasing:

  • Social Support: Backyard Initiative activities increased social support for 93% of respondents. 
  • Social Cohesion: 95.5% of respondents had a greater sense of belonging and 95% were more willing to help others in their community after participating in the Backyard Initiative. 
  • Health Education: More than 90% of respondents received and gave information and resources that helped them and others to take care of themselves. 
  • Health Empowerment: 86% of survey respondents were doing something differently to take care of themselves as a result of participating in a CHAT activity.

Cultural Wellness Center logoThe Cultural Wellness Center is a community-based local nonprofit organization that leverages connectedness and cultural practices to better serve communities, cultivate local champions, build local capacity and reflect community culture and values in the pursuit of wellness.

10-Year Report

See the results from the 10 years of the Backyard Initiative.

What's next for the backyard?

The Backyard Community Health Hub is building on the success of the Backyard Initiative by providing activities to improve health. Activities include opportunities for motion, natural self-care and culinary wellness. 

The Backyard Community Health Hub aims to leverage connectedness and cultural practices to ultimately better serve communities, cultivate local champions, build local capacity and reflect community culture and values in the pursuit of wellness.

Visit us in the Midtown Global Market at
920 E Lake Street #G10
Minneapolis, MN 55407

To get connected with upcoming events, contact the Backyard Community Health Hub:

A program of the Cultural Wellness Center

Where is the Backyard?

The Backyard includes the neighborhoods of Ventura Village, Phillips West, Midtown Phillips, East Phillips, Central, Powderhorn Park and Corcoran in Minneapolis, where The Commons (Allina Health corporate headquarters), Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and Phillips Eye Institute are located.

The boundaries are Interstate 94, Interstate 35W, 38th Street South and Hiawatha Avenue.

backyard map web