Announcing the 2021 Community Change Grantees

America Walks is excited to announce the 2021 Community Change Grant awardees!

The Community Change Grant program supports the growing network of advocates, organizations, and agencies working to advance walkability. Grants are awarded to innovative, engaging, and inclusive programs and projects. These projects create a real, tangible opportunity for walking and movement at the community level. Applications for these grants were received in 2021 and the awardees will work to complete their projects in 2022.

Previous CCG projects have included the revitalization of a six-acre space that had previously bisected and divided a community, the rehabilitation of a dangerous blind curve, and much more.

Meet the 2021 Community Change Grant winners,

made possible by our partners at CDC:

City of Euclid - Dept. of Planning & Development
The City of Euclid is thrilled to partner with America Walks to bring a walking trail to the Coulter and Hero Park areas, on the South side of the City. This project will provide a critical asset, bringing healthy recreation options to a close knit neighborhood currently lacking any such facility. The City of Euclid plans to build upon this success through more trails, expanding the network to many more communities on its Southern side.
Altoona Public Library
This means so much to me and our community. We are in the process of putting in a storywalk and this grant money will help with the sensory sidewalk to go along with it.
As Northwest Indiana’s major bus operator, the Gary Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC) is aware that pedestrian access and safety are integral to public transit and grants like this help in improving pedestrian paths and crosswalks to major transit boarding locations. These low-cost “tactical urbanism” improvements – with a focus on crosswalk upgrades – will beautify the streetscape and connect transit stations, art installations and other downtown activity centers while making pedestrians and transit riders safer. The America Walks 2021 grant will assist in making significant pedestrian and connectivity improvements while engaging the community – riders and non-riders – in making the system safer while improving Gary’s quality of life.
Blue logo featuring the outline of a family
Casa Familiars Cultural Corridor signage intends to enhance the walkability and safety of pedestrians in the heart of San Ysidro community. This project is intended to be a wayfinding signage project to complement and enhance the Cultural Corridor. The project will promote and enhance access to these community services as well as directionality to public transportation, light rail, local library, and community centers. The location of signage will be strategically placed along the Cultural Corridor a safe pedestrian thoroughfare in the historic village of San Ysidro. Receiving this grant will help Casa Familiar fabricate the signage, and promote community engagement with several walking events.

With this grant Franklin County Public Health will be creating a Gratitude Mile in one of our suburban cities. The Gratitude Mile will consist of signage along a one-mile loop that prompts people to take part in mindfulness exercises as they walk. The signage will be moveable so it can be placed in different parks within the city to reach a larger number of people. The pandemic continues to take a large toll on the mental and physical health of everyone and by participating in the Gratitude Mile people will be able to take small steps to improve both aspects of their health right in their own community.

Center for Planning Excellence’s mission and driving principle is to help Louisiana communities realize their vision for a better future – a future also defined by the unique voices of these communities. Receiving the America Walks grant allows for us to expand our reach in the Baton Rouge region through the 20-Minute Neighborhood BINGO activity. We are so excited to engage with and listen to our surrounding communities to bring community-informed policy recommendations as we move into the next legislative session. We are so grateful to receive the America Walks grant; this aid allows us reach our community through an activity that promotes authentic community engagement and healthy lifestyle habits. It’s time we physically realize the necessary infrastructure for healthy habits and healthy communities.

Thanks to a grant from America Walks, Mode Shift Omaha is thrilled to announce that we’ll be conducting a Sidewalk Stories listening campaign. With the goal of getting sidewalks recognized as part of the transportation network in Omaha, we will first highlight the stories of those impacted by sidewalk connectivity, or lack thereof, showcasing the real human need of safe and well maintained pedestrian infrastructure.
Using existing Pennsylvania WalkWorks routes, sidewalk decals with QR codes will direct walkers to a website with information and activities to address nutrition, physical activity, benefits of walking, community engagement, and community cohesion. Receiving the grant enables us to reintroduce walking routes and groups through our WalkWorks partnership, as well as, Schuylkill on the Move (an initiative to promote health and fitness through walking). This project will allow us the opportunity to reach community members where they are…in their communities.

Our school provides opportunities for a diverse and underserved population, including immigrants and those with special needs. More than 70% of the families we serve live in some degree of poverty. While our neighborhood is walkable, the majority of our students come from low-income apartments on a busy street. They lack green space to play and walk. We have a large outdoor space at our school that offers a wealth of opportunity to continue to develop into walkable spaces for kids to play and learn. We will utilize our active school volunteers and community partners to connect our outdoor learning spaces around the school grounds. As part of the connected trail, we will place story and activity walks to engage students from one spot to another. This grant will be so beneficial for the students we serve, as well as improving the morale for our teachers.
WestCare Pacific Islands’ initiative, Thrive Coalition will help provide vibrant and clean spaces for Dededo village’s youth and families to safely engage in positive activities. Our project will focus on 5 public parks that are immediately adjacent to residential areas by collaborating with local artists and residents in creating vibrant foot paths in 5 public parks in the village. These footpaths will be painted with depictions of locally relevant images and installation of sensory footpaths. Interactive features through scanned codes will include trivia on cultural knowledge, as well as health and nutrition. Additionally, this tool will provide education and resources on the benefits of walking and staying active. This project will help increase the protective factors in our village community to address substance use and misuse among youth in our village. Through our grassroots approach, Thrive aims to cultivate a sense of ownership and stewardship. Our community will have pride and continue to seek ways to sustain and improve upon this project.
Shaler Township strives to be welcoming to all people including our neighbors of color and those in the LGBTQIA community. Through collaboration with Shaler Area School District art teachers, students will develop artistic crosswalk design proposals that visually conveys a message of inclusion to members of those historically marginalized communities. The America Walks grant will fund paint and other design materials needed to translate one or more final designs from the page and replace existing traditional crosswalk designs.
Walk Bike Tampa’s mission is to make our city’s streets safer for everyone, through education, events and advocacy. This grant will allow us to complete a crosswalk mural and host a day of educational activities near an elementary school in an underserved community where most of the kids walks to school.
The City of Osceola in partnership with St. Clair County Economic Development, Osceola Community Chamber of Commerce, and Osceola Optimist Club will design, purchase and place wayfinding signs along routes listed in Osceola’s Livable Streets Plan. Receiving the 2021 Community Change Grant will allow the City of Osceola and partners to give pedestrians better access to everyday destinations such as healthcare clinics, public library, shopping, government agencies, and parks and recreation using the safest route possible. This grant allows us to continue to reach goals set in during past projects making Osceola truly a place where we can grow up and grow old.

Grant funds from America Walks will support Phase II of ongoing pedestrian improvement and placemaking initiative. The project was made possible by a 2019 America Walks Community Change Grant that enabled our team to build a tactical toolkit to test traffic calming design ideas at intersections with key neighborhood destinations that include a public library, weekly farm stand, public housing and neighborhood Community Garden. For Phase II, slated spring’22, the project team will partner with a BIPOC group of artists from the region to engage the community during the design and execution of an equity themed street and sidewalk mural that’ll highlight safe walking paths, create a positive sense of place and build social cohesion.
The America Walks 2021 Community Change Grant will help fund our “Where Art, Culture and Safety Cross the Street” project which will create a cohesive, visual walking route for a local neighborhood where 47% of the students at nearby Pleasant Grove School identify as Native American by painting eight intersections on a half-mile route leading to the school. Receiving this grant means that we will be able to honor and celebrate Native American heritage and impact in the neighborhood via beautiful tribal art which ensuring the safety of children walking to school.
We are planning to create curb bulbs with cones and spray chalk and other materials. Also creating traffic circles using potted trees, hay bailes and spray chalk. The event is planned for Fall of 2022 in coordination of our big tree planting day in which we plan to plant 400 trees in the neighborhood. Delta is home to many artists who will paint creative and colorful chalk circles surrounding the trees. Our neighborhood is the lowest income census tract in Snohomish County and has a lot of speeding cut through traffic combined with missing sidewalks and other inadequate pedestrian safety infrastructure. The community is coming together to create this plan to keep speeding vehicles on the main arterials and to enhance pedestrian crossings. This project will be the first of its kind in the City of Everett that does not currently allow tactical urbanism, speed humps or traffic circles. We are presenting our temporary plans as special use permits which allows for street closures. In the past we have closed streets for the Delta Art Experience summer festival.

Oaks and Spokes is extremely excited to partner with America Walks on this project! We believe that all children should have access to safe and robust infrastructure to allow for car-free trips in their community. We look forward to collaborating with our neighbors on this project and to working with America Walks to highlight the need for urgency through action to create a future our children can depend on.
The Florida Department of Health in Nassau County is uniting with the Partnership for a Healthier Nassau to promote wellness through the “Nassau Safe Walking Bingo Rx” project. This will include the “prescription” of safe walking for management of heart and lung function, blood pressure, cholesterol, mental health & other health benefits. Instructions for use and “dose” (variation of movement, breathing, exercise) will be provided. There will also be opportunities for walkers to complete their bingo game and win, while paying attention to people, safety features and nature. These activities are “written” on the cells of the provided Bingo Rx Cards. We hope to see “walking paths” being created and adopted over time as result of the feedback, wishes & experience of walkers motivated with this initiative. We also wish to receive reactions on the impact of “Bingo Rx” on their health and their motivation to keep walking. Bingo Rx cards will be distributed via websites, DOH clinics, Doctor’s Offices, Libraries, Businesses, Pharmacies, subsidized housing complexes & Churches throughout Nassau County.

General Motors has funded 10 Community Change Grant projects in designated towns and cities with GM facilities!

Those are:

Asociacion Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), John Welsh Elementary School, Rainbow de Colores Playground, and Philly’s Vision Zero will work collaboratively to organize a youth ambassador after school program to work with local youth to audit, workshop, and present solutions for making the routes they take before and after school safer. The program will design a curriculum of activities for youth to complete audits, learn about urban planning and street safety, design solutions for the neighborhood and culminate in a community showcase. Having youth voices guiding the local advocacy priorities is a key necessity given that, on average, 5 children in Philadelphia experience a traffic crash every day. Further, a quarter of accidents involve youth under 19. Receiving the Community Change grant makes it possible for youth in the community to have the support and resources to drive the planning process and guide current advocacy efforts for solutions that actually work for them.
Building Geocaching sites targeting youth to encourage exploration and walking activities in the Glendive area.
The project will entail reaching out to seniors in St. Louis to encourage them to participate in the Ten Toe Express® program. The Ten Toes Express helps individuals lead healthier lives by linking activity, sociability, and exercise with the use of MetroLink and MetroBus. Because riding public transportation can often be daunting for many older adults, CMT works to increase older adults comfort level and confidence while using public transportation. Ten Toes combines the use of the transit system with guided walking tours in order to allay people’s fears of using the Metro system and promote outdoor exploration and staying active. The goal is to foster independence and a feeling of community through public transit use. Receiving this grant will enable us to further our outreach in the community. We believe the program is a “hidden gem” that can help more individuals maintain active, independent lives.
The League of Michigan Bicyclists provides education and advocacy to make biking better and safer in Michigan. Bike Wave, a program launched in 2021 in partnership with the AARP, is available to any Michigan municipality who is seeking resources to make their roads more accessible and pedestrian friendly. Bike Wave is a lending library of temporary bike lane delineators and curb extensions that allow cities to test pedestrian-friendly infrastructure before installation. This grant will cover the cost of 10 additional units of wave delineators and cones that will allow cities to pilot crosswalks adjustments and protected bike lanes. Because this program is already in operation, we’re looking to expand our library and be able to serve more cities during a 1-2 month borrowing period or to allow larger cities to have access to more materials.
This grant is greatly appreciated as we work to create healthy, vibrant communities through placemaking activities. When complete, Foodie Commons will be a walkable destination for community members that provides a place for food, entertainment and entrepreneurship in the heart of Flint. Flint has experienced many challenges but this is a project that will help in the city’s revitalization.
The City of Trenton, MI is proposing a project for Wayfinding signage and trail markings to allow for safe travel through our community along the Downriver Linked Greenways and the Iron Belle Trail. Funding for this project would not be possible without this grant.

The Active Transportation Coalition (ATC) builds community to make Fort Wayne, Indiana a better place to walk, bike & roll. Many residents of the North Highlands Neighborhood Association are concerned about speeding and unsafe drivers. They have collected data to substantiate their concerns and are working with ATC partners to implement traffic calming strategies. This funding partnership with America Walks, General Motors and UAW Local 2209 will increase walkability and safety in this residential community.
The Logan County Health District is kicking off the Worksite Walking Program for Logan County businesses. This program will educate businesses on the benefits of walking and physical activity, as well as encourage incorporating walking and increased movement during the workday. Receiving the America Walks Community Change Grant allows the Logan County Health District to implement the Worksite Walking Program with the tools necessary to be successful.
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has partnered with many organizations to provide pedestrian safety education and provided bike safety education with helmet distribution. We plan to collaborate with the students and parents from the community to understand perception of current bikeable, walkable safety in a targeted neighborhood near the CENTERS for Success where the students attend. The students will have guidance in “building” a safe walkable and bikeable space, injury prevention, nutrition and exercise action plan from General Motors, Pontiac Housing Commission, Oakland County Health Department, Oakland County Planning Division, SafeKids Worldwide, Oakland County Sheriffs, League of Bicyclist in Michigan, Centers for Success, Friends of Pontiac Parks. This grant will be used to increase the 4th and 5th grade students’ engagement in planning and personally designing, awareness of walking/biking pathways in Pontiac, and removing the burden of injury associated with bicyclists and pedestrian safety.
Missouri Southern State University is committed to improving the health of its students and employees by increasing physical activity opportunities on campus. By receiving the America Walks 2021 Community Change Grant, sponsored by General Motors, MSSU will be able to create an outdoor exercise area on the new campus walking trail. Outdoor exercise equipment purchased through a Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Worksite Wellness grant, will now be able to be placed on a mat so that it can be used throughout the year and be accessible to all.

A special thanks to The Solomon Foundation for funding

the following grants in Massachusetts communities.

The “Centralville Riverwalk” is a trail without a formal name or identity, not ADA-accessible, about a mile long. We surveyed the community in English and Spanish, receiving more than 100 responses, discussed with Centralville Neighborhood Group, and did a pop-up intercept event at a trailhead talking to dozens more community members. The Community Change Grant will allow us to do quick implementation of some of the most-requested features, making the project real for everyone who participated. We believe it will be the start of a snowball that will grow and transform this overlooked and underused trail into a beloved community asset.
The BOLD Teens Inc logo
The BOLD Teens are working on making parks in Dorchester safer and more walkable.

They are presently focused on the Codman Square Park centrally located in Dorchester.

The Community Change Grant program is partly funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We invite you to join their Active People, Healthy Nation initiative and become part of a national movement of individual influencers, organizations, and community champions that support the goal of increasing physical activity in the United States.

For more information, download the Active People, Healthy Nation handout.