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Endeavor Foundation Awards $421,112 in EnergizeNWA Grants

Oct. 22, 2013

Grantees Poised to Make the "Healthy Choice the Easy Choice'

Endeavor Foundation is pleased to announce 12 grants totaling $421,112 to support EnergizeNWA, a community-led initiative to increase access to healthy food and physical activity. The awarded projects embrace a focus on long-term systemic change, multi-sector partnerships, and serving the needs of underserved populations across Northwest Arkansas.

“We received 42 proposals requesting over $1.6 million, and are excited to fund the projects with the most potential to improve the way we design our communities and to nurture a culture that supports a healthy lifestyle," said Anita Scism, President and CEO, Endeavor Foundation. "In order for Northwest Arkansas to embrace these ideas, the healthy choice needs to be easy, safe, affordable and accessible," Scism said.

Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson was a speaker at the January 2013 EnergizeNWA Summit and has been a vocal proponent of the effort. “EnergizeNWA is about bringing all hands on deck to forge creative regional partnerships and innovative thinking,” stated Thompson in an op-ed earlier this year. He is excited about the awarded grants and sees great promise in the solutions put forward by the Northwest Arkansas community.

The grants will advance a set of common healthy eating and active living goals reflecting input from the more than 200 leaders at the EnergizeNWA Summit earlier this year. For example, to encourage walking as a means of transportation, the city of Bentonville will develop 5’ sidewalks on both sides of SE 6th Street between S. Main Street and SE E Street, creating an east-west corridor that will provide pedestrian access to the Bentonville Public Library, Austin-Baggett Park, the Razorback Regional Greenway and various businesses and restaurants. Similarly, a grant to the city of Fayetteville will create three east-west bikeways along low traffic routes to encourage biking by connecting schools, low-income neighborhoods, and area amenities.

A grant to the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks will help put these new alternate transportation routes to good use. The percentage of children walking or bicycling to school decreased from 50% in 1969 to just 13% in 2009,” said Paxton Roberts, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks. “The EnergizeNWA grant will allow us to put programs and infrastructure in place that make it safer for kids to stay fit by walking or biking to school.” Furthermore, Bentonville and Fayetteville school districts were awarded grants to expand bicycle education programs, and Elmdale Elementary School in Springdale will start a new biking course that builds on lessons learned from other schools in the region.

Bentonville School District will complement its biking programs with cooking seminars, healthy snack and lunch offerings, and food labeling efforts to identify and promote nutritious choices for 3rd-12th grade students. This nutrition component supports multiple recommendations from the EnergizeNWA Summit that education is critical if we want people to make healthier choices.

Other grants to support a healthier food culture include funding for Cooking Matters courses led by Community Clinic and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County, respectively. Developed by the national organization Share Our Strength and hosted at the state level by the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Cooking Matters teaches participants how to purchase healthy food on a budget, and to use healthy ingredients to prepare delicious and nutritious meals. Similarly, a grant to Bridges to Wellness in Siloam Springs will involve Hispanic communities—representing about 20% of the Siloam Springs population—in developing culturally appropriate programs such as cooking classes using traditional ingredients to improve their own health.

Feed Communities, an organization with the vision of supporting and expanding local food systems to provide durable food security solutions, was a key facilitator of the January summit and an early program partner of EnergizeNWA. Feed Communities will play a lead coordination role in EnergizeNWA by working with schools, community organizations, and other grantees to improve food equity and nutrition education in Benton and Washington counties.

2013 EnergizeNWA Grantees

  • Bentonville School District - Wellness Program
  • Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks – Regional Safe Routes to School Project
  • Boys & Girls Club of Benton County – Cooking Matters Program
  • Bridges to Wellness – Siloam Springs Collaborative Community Health Project
  • City of Bentonville - East-West Sidewalk Project
  • City of Fayetteville - East-West Bikeway Project
  • Community Clinic - Cooking Matters & Healthy Weight Programs
  • Elmdale Elementary School - School Bike Program
  • Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club - Fitness Trail and Outdoor Gym
  • Fayetteville Schools - Bike Education Program
  • Northwest Arkansas Council - Regional Food Assessment
  • Tri Cycle Farms – Neighborhood Produce Market

About Endeavor Foundation

Endeavor Foundation is a community foundation serving Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington Counties in Northwest Arkansas. The EnergizeNWA grant commitment for 2013 includes support from Care Foundation (Endeavor’s supporting organization), the EnergizeNWA Strategic Focus Fund, and the Convergence Partnership. The Convergence Partnership is a collaboration of funders with the shared goal of changing policies and environments to better achieve the vision of healthy people living in healthy places. Endeavor Foundation is the recipient of a National Innovation Fund grant from the Convergence Partnership Innovation Fund to help advance EnergizeNWA.

About EnergizeNWA

EnergizeNWA is a community initiative that emerged from the Community Vitality pillar of the Greater Northwest Arkansas Development Strategy that included input from thousands of leaders on strategic focus areas key to the successful future of Northwest Arkansas. The mission of EnergizeNWA is to create community-led change by working with local partners to build a culture around—and environment supportive of—healthy eating and active living.

Media Contact Information & Interviews

For more information or to schedule an interview with Endeavor or any of the EnergizeNWA grantees, please contact Jill Kaplan, VP, Strategy and Communications, Endeavor Foundation. Jill can be reached at jill@endeavorfoundation.net or by phone at (479) 361-4624 (office) or (502) 424-9566 (mobile).