Federal grant money to aid Missouri program
July 22, 2010
ST. LOUIS - The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) has received $2 million in federal matching funds to launch a new grant program, Strategic Innovation in Missouri (SIM). Grants through this program will target community-based efforts to reduce obesity and tobacco use throughout Missouri. MFH is one of only 11 organizations in the United States receiving these federal funds.

The funding was announced today (July 22, 2010) in Washington, DC, and represents the first-ever federal distribution through the newly created Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that leads President Obama's United We Serve initiative through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs.

"We are proud to be included among this first, select group of funders from across the country that have been recognized at the national level as innovators in tackling social challenges," said Dr. James R. Kimmey, MFH president and chief executive officer. "For several years, MFH has been funding programs to help reduce our state's obesity and tobacco use rates, both of which contribute to a significant number of deaths and health problems for hundreds of thousands of Missourians. He added,"With this infusion of federal SIF funds, we can expand our efforts in more communities by replicating proven, effective models of prevention on obesity and tobacco control."

That MFH was able to get this grant (many know that often federal dollars don't end up in the Midwest) is a real testimony to the work that's already being done in Missouri on obesity and tobacco prevention. Only 3 of the 11 grantees are outside NY, Washington DC, or California.

What is the impact of the SIF grant?

Through the SIF grant's local matching requirement, the $2 million, two-year allocation will actually generate a total of $8 million in program funding in Missouri. MFH will match the initial $2 million with its own funds. That total of $4 million will then be disbursed through 10-20 grants in targeted, low-income communities across the state to provide obesity and tobacco prevention programs. Those individual grants must then be matched at the community level by local organizations, foundations, businesses or individual investors. The minimum SIM grant request to MFH will be $100,000 per year. Using federal funds, MFH is able to bypass its bylaws and make these grants throughout the entire state.

MFH's SIM funding will build on two successful models already implemented through previous funding - "Healthy, Active and Vibrant Communities," developed by Trailnet, a nonprofit that promotes healthy lifestyles, and "Support for Local Tobacco Policy Change," developed by Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, a nonprofit that focuses on reducing the use of tobacco products. SIF grantees will address urgent needs across three key issue areas - economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support. MFH's SIM program targets the healthy futures component.

MFH anticipates selecting SIM program grantees by early 2011. To help nonprofits better understand SIM and how to apply for this funding, MFH will be making presentations in various communities throughout the state in August and providing information online here.

Federal funding for the 11 grantees totals $49 million. The other 10 grantees are: Jobs for the Future, Inc., and New Profit, Inc. (both based in Boston); Local Initiatives Support Corporation, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City (all based in New York City); National AIDS Fund and Venture Philanthropy Partners (both based in Washington, DC); Robert Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) (based in San Francisco); Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (based in Louisville); and United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

More about MFH

Established in 2000, MFH is the largest nongovernmental funder of community health activities in Missouri. MFH is in its eighth year of grantmaking, having issued more than $374 million in grants and awards to date. It is dedicated to improving the health of unserved and underserved residents in 84 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis.

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