New Round of Health Justice Grants in MN Focus on Women
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Minnesota continues to rank highly for quality-of-life indicators, including health, but long-standing disparities persist.
A new round of grants will help community-based social entrepreneurs and nonprofits boost health access for underserved populations. The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is led by the American Heart Association and is in its second year of funding Minnesota initiatives.
Kelly Robinson, owner and CEO of Messianic Care in the Twin Cities, took home this summer's top grant prize of $15,000.
With this year's emphasis on helping women, she will use the funding for activities to promote heart health which are more engaging.
"It allows me financially to provide things that I know culturally excites us," Robinson explained. "Who wants to go to the gym and just work out, you know? But for us, I pay for line dancing, I pay for step dancing."
She pointed out efforts like this bring more cardiac awareness to women of color, who are near middle age but lack resources such as insurance. As a community health advocate, Robinson also hopes to use funding to purchase equipment such as blood pressure cuffs.
Among its most concerning data, Minnesota has a high racial disparity in premature death rates, ranking 48th in the nation.
Finalists get a chance to present their ideas at the General Mills headquarters through an event sponsored by Cheerios.
Kerry DeLaney, business unit director for the company, said as they pursue more health equity around the state as a corporation, they need to elevate the people on the ground doing the work.
"Our contribution is to fund them and help accelerate their business ventures," DeLaney noted.
DeLaney, who is also a board member of the American Heart Association-Minnesota, stressed Cheerios does not greatly benefit from the program as a public relations move because it is still largely away from the public's radar.
However, the company said it is committed for the long term and is signed on as a sponsor for next year's grant cycle. DeLaney added he hopes to expand the program's reach across the region.
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