Grant Helps Support New Healthy-Living Initiative

Endeavor Foundation, one of the Northwest Arkansas Council's partner organizations, received a $170,000 grant from the Convergence Partnership to support EnergizeNWA, a new initiative focused on increasing access to healthy foods and physical activity in Northwest Arkansas.

Endeavor Foundation was one of only 13 community foundations in the U.S. to receive a 2012 Innovation Fund grant. The grants recognize innovative and leading philanthropic institutions poised to accelerate and boost community improvement in health and equity.

EnergizeNWA emerged from the Greater Northwest Arkansas Development Strategy, a regionwide effort to create a blueprint for Northwest Arkansas' future. With input from thousands of Northwest Arkansas residents in 2010, the Northwest Arkansas Council unveiled the strategy in January 2011 and immediately created four work groups focused on improving education, economic opportunity, infrastructure and community vitality. The Endeavor Foundation assists the Northwest Arkansas Council by leading the community vitality work group. EnergizeNWA was one of the recommendations for the community vitality group to pursue.

At Thursday's EnergizeNWA kick-off event in Rogers, community leaders will give guidance to shape what regional improvements that promote healthy eating and active living will be pursued. The day’s speakers will include Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation advisor Tracy Fox and Dr. John Agwunobi, Senior Vice President and President of Health and Wellness at Walmart Stores. Agwunobi is a former assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Convergence Partnership is a collaboration of eight of the nation’s leading funders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Convergence Innovation Fund, which is the partnership initiative that awarded the grant, honors new or expanding local and regional innovative initiatives that help ensure all people can live, work, and play in healthy communities. Grants totaled $1.85 million were awarded by the partnership.

“As a community foundation dedicated to ensuring a vibrant future for Northwest Arkansas and our residents, we’re excited to apply this grant toward the creation of programs and infrastructure that support a healthy, more active lifestyle,” said Anita Scism, Endeavor Foundation president and CEO. “EnergizeNWA is a community-led effort to help make the healthy choice easy, safe, affordable and accessible for everyone in the region. Support from the Convergence Partnership will help make this vision a reality.”

More information on Thursday's summit is available at the EnergizeNWA website.