New York City social entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations receive funding to break down health barriers

The American Heart Association’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund invests in sustainable local solutions addressing health inequities

In New York City, people living in poor neighborhoods have higher death rates than those living in wealthier neighborhoods however, Black New Yorkers have the highest rate in every neighborhood. To sustainably address the social and economic impediments to health equity, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, today announced four New York City-based organizations and social enterprises will receive $650,000 in grant funding from the AHA’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund.

Contributions from the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, Cheryl Pegus, M.D. and Advent Capital Management funded the opportunity for organizations in New York City to sustainably address the social determinants of health (SDOH) like food insecurity, mental health, early childhood development and economic stability.

“It’s always been my goal to help create social and physical environments that promote good health for all,” said Liz Elting, founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation. “Where you live shouldn’t determine how well or how long you live, but it does. Barriers to racial justice and health equity must be broken. Investing in community driven solutions to overcome health disparities, mental health challenges and other social influencers of health is a key component to give all people their best opportunity for a long and healthy life.”

About 80% of a person’s health is determined by factors other than access and quality of clinical care. Through its Bernard J. Tyson Social Impact Fund, the AHA invests in local entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations that are breaking down the social and economic barriers to healthy lives.

“Investing in organizations and social entrepreneurs who are making a lasting impact in communities across New York City is only possible because of our generous and committed donors,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the AHA. “In order to ensure every person has the same opportunity for a full, healthy life, the barriers that worsen the economic, social and health inequities of vulnerable communities must be dismantled.”

The New York City grantees are social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations led by people of color and/or operate in under-invested neighborhoods:

Cognitive ToyBox is a woman-led business that proposes a new paradigm for early childhood assessment: a hybrid observation and direct (game-based) assessment platform to assess the skills and knowledge that are important for children’s later success. The combination of observation-based and game-based assessment minimizes the implicit bias from teacher assessment and provides real time data to match instruction to level of development through a more efficient process.

Power of Two is a nonprofit that was founded in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn to address the reality that often, children born into poverty are also born into families that have themselves experienced trauma. Power of Two partners with caregivers and children in New York City using responsive parenting as a springboard to address trauma and strengthen social cohesion for families.

Stepful is an immigrant-led technology start-up that is reimagining health care vocational training to upskill unemployed and minimum wage workers. The company was established with the goal of creating economic opportunity for individuals with only a high school diploma.

Strong Children Wellness (SCW) integrates primary care hubs into established community-based mental health and social service organizations in New York City. SCW was created by three African American women pediatricians who grew frustrated with the limitations on the health care system’s ability to address the social determinants of health of the most marginalized families.

Since its launch in June 2020, the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund has supported 50 social entrepreneurs and nonprofits in New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, the greater Washington D.C. region and Oakland, California. The fund honors the late Bernard J. Tyson, long-time AHA volunteer and former Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO. Tyson worked tirelessly to overcome structural and systemic barriers to support social justice and equitable health for all.

To learn more about the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund and future funding opportunities, visit bernard-j-tyson-fund.

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 About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries: Mark Hurley


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