As we sort through the hundreds of applications for the America Walks Community Change Grants program we wanted to take a minute to express appreciation to the partners who make them possible – and reflect on the remarkable growth in the number of grants they are supporting.
The Centers for Disease Control, through its Active People Healthy Nation initiative, has been a stalwart supporter over the last five years, initially funding 10 grants a year, and expanding to 15 over the past two years. In 2021 and 2022, we have graciously added support from General Motors which funded ten in 2021, expanding to 15 in 2022. This year, we have an additional seven targeted grants for Massachusetts, courtesy of Safe Roads Alliance. And every year America Walks supports additional grants through the generosity of our individual donors.
From the beginning, our goal with these grants has been to catalyze grassroots community building by funding small local organizations with impactful ideas. We particularly like projects that show a strong and intentional foundation of equity, and that reach across demographics to authentically engage the whole community. You can find the work of our 2021 grantees here – and we are looking forward to announcing 2022 grantees soon.
Active People Healthy Nation
Active People, Healthy Nation is a national initiative led by CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. A key strategy is to build support for “activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations” so people can easily integrate physical activity into their daily lives. We are proud to be a partner in Active People Healthy Nation, and encourage you to join it here.
GM philanthropy works toward “creating inclusive solutions to social issues in the communities in which we live and work.” Community Change Grants in GM communities in 2021 went toward safe routes to school, connecting seniors to transit, traffic calming and more. A notable part of the GM grants is that it engages local GM employees to work with other community leaders on safer streets. We are looking forward to what will be accomplished after we award the 2022 grants.
Massachusetts Safe Roads Alliance
The Massachusetts Safe Roads Alliance focuses on safe driving, and as part of that effort they are supporting community organizations working on safer street designs. By partnering with America Walks, we can oversee the granting process, and they can ensure good projects are funded in Massachusetts. We would love to have more state or regional organizations partner with us to help deliver small but important grants in the places they care about.
We are excited about how the Community Change Grants program has grown. The steadfast commitment of the CDC to the program has helped leverage other supporters such as GM, the Safe Roads Alliance, and others. A sure sign of success is imitation, and (with our eager support) our friends at the League of American Bicyclists have started a similar program!
The literally hundreds of applications we receive every year highlights the critical need for funding walkable and accessible communities. The applications open annually between September-October. We greatly appreciate our partners, and please contact us if you would like to help extend this program even further.