The BUILD Health Challenge Announces 13 New Communities Leading the Way to Transform Community Health

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, The BUILD Health Challenge® (BUILD) announces its Fourth Cohort of awardees, including 13 new communities throughout the U.S., that will receive a total of $8.5 million in funding and resources to advance health equity over the next three years.  

Launched in 2015, BUILD addresses the root causes of our most pressing health challenges by changing the conditions in our society, environment, and policies that impact health at the population level. While access to care remains a critical issue in the U.S., it is only a small piece of the puzzle when addressing health disparities and long-term well-being of a community. BUILD invests in community-centered, multi-sector partnerships that ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy.  

“BUILD communities are leveling the playing field,” said Melissa Monbouquette, Executive Director of BUILD. “Health disparities across the country have been exacerbated by systemic racism and disinvestment; no institution can address all of the interlocking drivers of health inequity alone. True health transformation requires a shared responsibility to move these systems of oppression and neglect towards justice and universal well-being.” 

BUILD is excited to fund collaboratives that are addressing critical issues such as healthy housing, food security, and mental health through an equity- and justice-driven lens. Each community-based collaborative is backed by a local health department, and a hospital or health plan that provides monetary and/or in-kind support to the project, collectively adding more than $5 million to the award total. 

The selected projects and communities are: 

  • A Resident-Led Economic Opportunity Initiative to Improve Health Equity – Economic opportunity [Muskegon Heights, MI] 
  • Addressing Trauma in Foreign-Born Communities through Mental and Behavioral Health – Mental and behavioral health, immigration [St. Louis, MO] 
  • Bridges to Care San Antonio – Mental and behavioral health [San Antonio, TX] 
  • BUILD Payette – Healthy housing [Payette, ID] 
  • Building a Healthier Cincinnati – Maternal and child health, economic opportunity [Cincinnati, OH] 
  • Built Environment Work Group of South King County – Built environment, transportation [Seattle, WA] 
  • From the Ground Up: Building Health for Allentown children by Improving Early Childhood Development – Child health [Allentown, PA] 
  • Improving Health and Development through Access to Childcare Initiative – Child health [Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ] 
  • Race, Food, and Justice: Resident-Led Change to Support a Sustainable Food System – Food access [Cleveland, OH] 
  • San Diego Refugee Communities Health through Housing (HTH) Project – Healthy housing, immigration [San Diego, CA] 
  • San Joaquin County Transforming Communities for Healing – Mental and behavioral health [Stockton, CA] 
  • WHOLE Schools Movement – Mental and behavioral health, child health [Durham, NC] 
  • Working Towards an Equitable Health Landscape: Food is Medicine – Food access [Boone, NC] 

The partners in Cleveland and Cincinnati are returning BUILD awardees, leveraging their momentum and long-term commitment to advancing resident leadership and justice in their communities.   

“Since BUILD’s inception, we’ve been awed by how the movement for community-centered health initiatives has grown across the country and the collective impact of these partnerships,” said Monbouquette. “Through capacity building, amplifying community voice, and sharing what works, BUILD communities are demonstrating what the future of community health practice looks like.” 

The first three cohorts of BUILD included 55 initiatives across 25 states. Awardees’ efforts have yielded promising policy changes and community health solutions, including local regulations ensuring access to clean water; publicly accessible databases to identify neighborhood-level trends; sustainable food enterprises; and new organizational structures that center community voice in decision making. 

BUILD is proud to acknowledge the support of the philanthropic partnership that guides this effort. This collaboration blends national perspective with issue-specific and regional expertise, and aims to inspire similar teamwork among other organizations. The Fourth Cohort is made possible with support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, de Beaumont Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Leonard Parker Pool Institute for Health, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Missouri Foundation for Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Trinity Health, Vitalyst Health Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  

Learn more about BUILD at


Contact Data