$1.2 million awarded to 10 local organizations to improve health and wellness in Boston
BOSTON – December 4, 2023 – Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) in partnership with Mass General Brigham (MGB) announce the recipients of the first-ever Community Health Equity Empowerment (CHEE) Fund. Using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and a contribution from Mass General Brigham Community Health and Health Equity, BPHC will distribute a total of $1.2 million in 2023 CHEE grants to ten organizations, with awards ranging up to $200,000. The goal of the grant program is to increase health care access in underserved neighborhoods.
The CHEE Fund is a grant for local non-profits and community-based organizations to advance health equity through prevention, intervention, and response services in communities with the greatest need. Through community empowerment and engagement strategies (outlined in BPHC’s Advancing Health Equity Framework), the 10 grantees will work with BPHC to connect residents across Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Roxbury and Mattapan with health care and services to address social determinants of health.
“The funding awarded through CHEE is a crucial investment in creating long-term health equity improvements for the city of Boston,” said Mayor Wu. “Empowering our communities to engage and get involved in building improvements is essential to embedding and maintaining equitable resources in our most vulnerable neighborhoods, and I look forward to partnering with our local leaders to better meet the health needs of our residents.”
Data from BPHC’s latest Health of Boston (HoB) report noted numerous persistent health inequities among communities with higher concentrations of Black, Latinx, immigrant, and other populations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents were disconnected from health care and other critical resources which worsened health outcomes. The purpose of the CHEE fund is to mobilize community- based organizations to reengage Boston residents in health care, promote prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, and ensure access to services that will improve health outcomes like healthier food options and housing.
“Community-based organizations and coalitions are essential to advancing health equity. They understand the problems that their communities face and have the right solutions, but they are usually underfunded,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission and Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Boston. “The CHEE Fund will support selected organizations to build and maintain the capacity to effectively close gaps in health outcomes throughout our city.”
“Tackling intractable and persistent health inequities will require support of residents, coalitions, and organizations that are deeply embedded in the neighborhoods most affected to enable development of long-term sustainable solutions,” said Dr. Elsie Taveras, Chief Community Health & Health Equity Officer for Mass General Brigham. “Mass General Brigham is proud to partner with the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission to support and maximize the impact of the Community Health Equity Empowerment (CHEE) Fund, and we congratulate the 10 diverse community-based awardees.”
“Health equity is paramount to keeping our residents safe and healthy,” said Melissa Hector, Director of Equitable and Strategic Initiatives at BPHC. “The coalitions and partnerships being made through the CHEE Fund supports activities that implement evidence-based prevention strategies that shape individual behaviors as well as relationship, community, and societal factors for transformational change.”
Eight of the ten organization programs funded in this inaugural cohort are led by a person of color and six are woman-led. Programs range from wraparound services, behavioral health support, digital equity, and food security.
“We are thrilled the Boston Public Health Commission has decided to invest in our innovative Healthy Food Pantry Program as a way to address food insecurity, chronic disease and reduce healthcare disparity in Grove Hall. Once the pilot with Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center is successful, it will be a model for health centers across the city,” said Ed Gaskin, Executive Director for Greater Grove Hall Main Streets.
2023 – 2025 INAUGURAL CHEE FUND GRANT RECIPIENTS
Mobile Health and Resource Community Engagement
|Suicide Prevention Mental Health Office Hours at Whittier St. Health Center
|Equity Now and Beyond
|Wrap Around Health Services for BIPOC Immigrants
|Greater Grove Hall Main Streets
|Healthy Food Pantry Program
|Haitian Mental Health Network
|Promoting the Health & Well-Being of Haitian Immigrants in Boston
|Link Health Boston
|Digital Health Equity Program
|The Healthy Crane
|Holistic Healing and Medicine for Diabetes and Mental Health
|The Fields Corner Crossroads
|Recurring Refugee Health Assessment Program (RHAP)
|We Are Better Together Warren Daniel Harrison Project
|Trauma Informed Behavioral Health Services
|We Got Us Empowerment Project
|The Small Steps Project
For more information about the CHEE fund and to learn more about the awarded organizations, please visit boston.gov/news/mayor-wu-and-boston-public-health-commission-announce-recipients-inaugural-community-health or email firstname.lastname@example.org.