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Our Projects

Our first year of Legacy Projects went to organizations located throughout New York State. In subsequent years we accepted applications from across the country and funded projects in Virginia and North Carolina. We encouraged Legacy Grantees to address policy, systems, and environmental changes related to diabetes disparities. As a result, Legacy Project grants supported activities such as training community members to conduct community assessments and present findings to elected officials, initiating a community supported agriculture program, and training teachers to integrate physical activity and nutrition education into regular classroom lessons.

Year 1


Healthy Hearts on the Hill Coalition and The University at Albany Foundation

The Healthy Hearts on the Hill Legacy Project initiated “The Biggest Winner Contest” inspired by television’s The Biggest Loser. Over 200 participants enrolled to receive points for engaging in healthy activities including fitness sessions, health screenings, and chronic disease management programs. Points transferred into opportunities to win prizes through monthly raffles and a final grand prize drawing. Healthy Hearts on the Hill also organized walking clubs, health screenings, diabetes management groups and a mini-grants program for local food vendors and food pantries to promote healthy foods. The Healthy Hearts on the Hill Coalition brings together community partners from the fields of healthcare, research, faith-based institutions, neighborhood advocacy groups, and academics, along with prominent community members to plan for greater health opportunities in the West Hill neighborhood of Albany. The coalition was co-founded by the Center for Excellence in Aging Services at the State University of New York at Albany and Koinonia Primary Care.

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The Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

The Western NY Neighborhood Health Coalition Legacy Project initiated a cultural health broker program by training community leaders to engage community members in conversations around health issues. They developed and implemented a training program for 15 individuals to become Neighborhood Health Talkers. The Health Talkers then organized 50 conversations around diabetes throughout the community reaching over 700 individuals. The Western NY Neighborhood Health Coalition is made up of community block club and tenant council leaders in the greater Buffalo area that work together to engage and empower neighborhoods to have a greater involvement in their own health care. The coalition was formed by the Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center whose mission is to enhance the quality of and access to health care, improve health care outcomes and address health workforce needs of medically underserved communities and populations in Erie and Niagara counties by establishing partnerships between the institutions that train and hire health professionals and the communities that need them most.

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The Genesis Health Project at the University of Syracuse

The Genesis Health Project Legacy Project focused their faith-based health programming on African American families at nine churches in a low-income area of Syracuse. The project included a twelve week Family Fitness Diabetes Prevention and Management Program, a Men’s Health Diabetes Seminar, and a series of Family Health Diabetes Workshops. The Genesis Health Project is a university-community coalition sponsored by Syracuse University College of Human Ecology, Department of Health and Wellness. The aims of the community designed, faith-based and culturally sensitive coalition are to reduce health disparities in minority populations by partnering with community organizations to identify and address health needs in greater Syracuse and Central New York. Key goals are to reduce obesity and its related health risks and to promote healthy lifestyles among African Americans.

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The Staten Island Family Health Care Coalition and Project Hospitality Inc.

The Staten Island Family Health Care Coalition’s Legacy Project provided diabetes education and screening at more than 30 health fairs in Staten Island targeting African American, Latino and West African communities. In addition, they held two weekly diabetes screening events at Staten Island community organizations. Over 800 individuals were screened, with more than 150 positive results prompting referrals to follow-up care. The Staten Island Family Health Care Coalition was founded to address the glaring disparities in health care and access to health care on Staten Island. The mission of the coalition is to advocate for changes in health care policy, program and practice in order to fully ensure that all Staten Islanders, regardless of ethnicity, color, country of origin, or ability to pay, have access to quality, affordable health care, are empowered to become educated consumers of health care, and are advocates of healthy lifestyles at home, work, school, and play.

Project Hospitality Inc. is a private not for profit whose mission is to reach out to community members who are hungry, homeless or otherwise in need in order to work with them to achieve their self-sufficiency — thereby enhancing the quality of life for the community. Project Hospitality seeks to realize its mission both by advocating for those in need and by establishing a comprehensive continuum of care including food, clothing, health care, mental health, vocational training, and legal assistance.

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Year 2


New York Faith and Justice

New York Faith and Justice (NYFJ) is made up of churches, organizations, and individuals committed to ending poverty in New York through education and direct advocacy. NYFJ’s Legacy Project Pressing for Food Justice to Press Against Diabetes aimed to educate and activate the Black and Latino communities from diverse faiths in Harlem and the South Bronx regarding food disparity, and to collaborate on advocacy efforts to address food deserts in New York City through local government policies. In October of 2010, the Food, Faith, and Health Disparities Summit brought together 150 faith leaders and community members from all five boroughs of New York City to discuss problems and solutions to food access. Six food justice working groups were formed at the summit to address the key strategies identified and remain active. Learn more on the New York Faith and Justice blog.

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The Floating Hospital

The Floating Hospital’s Legacy Project formed a coalition of community service providers in Long Island City to offer expanded health education programming to residents targeting the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities experienced by medically underserved residents. The coalition implemented a comprehensive health education model addressing nutrition and fitness in existing after school activities at the Jacob A. Riis Youth Center for Youth Development. The Floating Hospital has been helping New York City’s most fragile families receive comprehensive and compassionate health care services for over 140 years. They are dedicated to the principal that homeless and underserved patients deserve the same consistent, respectful and confidential quality health care experience that most New Yorkers expect when visiting their own family doctor.

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The Junior Health Talker Coalition and The Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center

The Junior Health Talker Legacy Project implemented a community mapping project to assess Buffalo’s neighborhoods for healthy living conditions such as pedestrian safety and options for purchasing healthy foods. Student coalition members developed proposals for neighborhood improvements that they shared with local elected officials. The Junior Health Talker Coalition is comprised of 25 high school students who participated in the Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center’s Health Education Summer Camp and completed six weeks of instruction to become Junior Health Talkers. The coalition’s mission is to educate young people about diabetes and to encourage them to advocate in their neighborhoods about how to improve their environment to live healthier lives.

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The National Haitian American Health Alliance

The National Haitian American Health (NHAHA) designed their Legacy Project to bring diabetes education and training to Haitian service providers and individuals using workshops, and Creole language radio programming. NHAHA is a not for profit organization in Brooklyn, New York that brings together Haitian agencies and individuals to foster collaboration and a shared agenda to build the community’s capacity to address health disparities among Haitians. The mission of NHAHA is to improve the health and welfare of Haitians by enhancing communication, promoting and facilitating collaborative projects and fostering cooperative relationships among similar organizations. NHAHA does this through coordinated resource and information sharing, advocacy, capacity building, and education.

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The Virginia Faith Based Outreach Initiative

The Virginia Faith Based Outreach Initiative is a coalition of five churches in the Western Tidewater region of Virginia founded by a former Bronx Health REACH faith-based health coordinator. The coalition is committed to decreasing health disparities in the Western Tidewater region through education, public awareness and developing community partnerships to focus on health problems identified by the CDC. The Coalition’s Legacy Project is implementing best practices identified in the Bronx Health REACH Faith Based Outreach Initiative Toolkit. The project aims to develop health ministries by engaging faith and lay leaders in health promotion and health equality advocacy, providing support and training for church health coordinators, distributing health materials, and sponsoring two coalition community health outreach events.

Year 3


Factors of the Seven, Inc. (FOTS)

Factors of the Seven, Inc. (FOTS) is a coalition of seven churches in Charlotte, North Carolina that work together on efforts to eliminate health disparities. The FOTS Legacy Project, Motivating and Nurturing through Unified Purpose (MAN-UP) is addressing diabetes prevention and management specifically among men. The project builds on a faith based diabetes screening initiative developed in partnership with the local department of health. For the MAN-UP project, men were recruited by their pastors, through church events, and at diabetes screenings to be trained as health ambassadors who will conduct health activities at their churches. Through the project, FOTS screened 151 men for diabetes, completed men’s focus groups at each of the participating churches, and trained 42 men as health ambassadors. FOTS also initiated a healthy church environment committee to assess opportunities to promote healthy eating and physical activity at participating churches. In addition, FOTS successfully advocated inclusion of the first community representative on the Mecklenberg County Food Desert Committee.

Highbridge Community Life Center

Highbridge Community Life Center in the Bronx, New York is a community-based organization committed to enabling Highbridge residents to take complete charge of their lives and to empower them to use their new found strength to improve the lives of their families and neighbors. Highbridge Community Life Center used a supplemental Legacy Project grant to do a series of focus groups to understand community perception of the impact of stress on health and health behaviors, and then piloted an intervention addressing stress as a fundamental cause of health disparities. Highbridge identified an evidence based 6-8-week stress reduction and wellness program including instruction in meditation, mindfulness, positive psychology techniques and other self-care practices. Highbridge trained adult educators and is piloting the program in 2-3 adult classes.

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The New York City Coalition Against Hunger

The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) Legacy Project initiated a new community supported agriculture (CSA) program, The South Bronx Farm Fresh Initiative. Working with local community members, NYCCAH conducted outreach to identify and establish relationships with the distribution site and farmer, recruit members, and set-up the distribution schedule. Working with Fresh Radish Farm in Goshen, NY, the South Bronx CSA accommodated 50 CSA shares for the 2011 growing season. 91% of members qualify for low-income shares and 78% of members pay for weekly share with EBT. If regular shareholders are unable to pick up their produce, weekly shares are offered to families on a waiting list. The farmer, a native of Mexico, offers a large variety of produce including Mexican specialty items, popular among shareholders. In addition to their weekly produce, shareholders receive bilingual newsletters with recipes and health information, and have opportunities to participate in cooking demonstrations.

NYCCAH represents and is the voice for the more than 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City and the more than 1.4 million low-income New Yorkers who live in households that can’t afford enough food. The coalition works not only to meet these residents’ immediate food needs but also to enact innovative solutions to help society move “beyond the soup kitchen” to ensure economic and food self-sufficiency for all Americans.

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United Federation of Teachers

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is a federation of over 200,000 members including teachers, nurses and other professionals working in New York City’s five boroughs. The UFT is committed to strengthening New York City communities, and to advancing the professions of members, and the lives of members and students. The UFT Legacy Project, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities, promoted physical activity and healthy eating to public school students, teachers and parents at 12 Bronx elementary schools. The UFT coordinated training for:

  • 25 Parent Coordinators (and their assistants) to conduct CookShop For Families’ workshops reaching approximately 222 parents with family nutrition education including hands-on food preparation.
  • 109 teachers to conduct CookShop Classroom for Elementary School reaching approximately 2,725 students with nutrition education including hands-on food preparation.
  • 98 teachers to implement Move to Improve reaching approximately 2450 students with classroom based physical activity.

Principals from the majority of participating schools reported that they would continue to implement Move to Improve and/or CookShop in the coming year. In addition, many schools reported other new school wellness initiatives that were started or planned as result of participation in the project, included school gardens, breakfast in the classroom, Mighty Milers, and an enhanced physical education curriculum.

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Year 4


Manhattan Middle School for Scientific Inquiry (MS 328)

MS 328 is a public school in Washington Heights, Manhattan, a neighborhood with high rates of obesity and diabetes. The middle school’s Legacy Project adds a focus on diabetes and food access to a school wide sustainability curriculum. MS 328 will expand an organic school garden and greenhouse and create a garden curriculum to make connections between growing and eating healthy food. The school will also develop three units of study focused on diabetes for use in biweekly student advisory classes and will work to change the school food system at MS 328 by increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables and decreasing the processed foods served in the cafeteria.

Seeds in the Middle

Seeds in the Middle fights childhood obesity by taking an integrated approach to health and creating a sustainable infrastructure that engages the entire community: children, parents, and educators. Seeds in the Middle’s Legacy Project will further establish its Hip2B Healthy program in PS 221 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and develop a model for replication to expand to neighboring schools. The Hip2B Healthy program incorporates a school garden, a school-run healthy market, chef’s nights, in-school cooking classes, and fitness opportunities including Zumba, soccer, and track, to create a healthy and nourishing environment for the school community. Seeds in the Middle also works with teachers to develop an integrated curriculum on health and gardening.

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THE POINT Community Development Corporation

THE POINT is a non-profit organization dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. THE POINT’s Legacy Project aims to reduce the high prevalence of diabetes in Hunts Point by educating youth and community members about health and nutrition and improving community access to affordable and nutritious foods. Teens participating in THE POINT’s community leadership group, A.C.T.I.O.N. (Activists Coming To Inform Our Neighborhood), will take part in education sessions on diabetes prevention and be trained as peer educators. Sessions will include hands-on workshops to construct new bed gardens and will distribute produce to the Hunts Point community through the Corbin Hill Farm Share. To share knowledge throughout the community, A.C.T.I.O.N. will lead education sessions at MS 424’s after-school program to increase awareness of healthy eating for diabetes prevention. THE POINT also plans to produce a Hunts Point gardening manual, do community outreach on healthy eating, and promote the Corbin Hill farm shares to families in the Hunts Point area.

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