HCF Announces $25,000 in Mini-Grants

HCF GranteesHealthy Central Florida (HCF) has announced the 11 winners of its third annual Health Innovation Grants.

“We had a very robust response and were thrilled by the quantity (nearly 40) and quality of the applications,” said Jill Hamilton Buss, HCF Executive Director.

After careful review of both the criteria for judging (innovation, reach and scale, sustainability, evaluation, etc.) and the strength of the overall application, six independent judges reviewed applications and awarded $25,000 to eleven uniquely qualified grantee projects.

Since HCF currently focuses on Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park, part of the criteria was that the grant primarily target and benefit residents of those communities. Of the 11, six projects target residents of all three communities; one targets Eatonville; one targets Winter Park; and three target Maitland.

Here are the winners. Each was awarded $2,500 unless otherwise noted:

  • City of Maitland – Mohican Trail Bike Path Extension
  • City of Winter Park – SNAP Winter Park Farmers Market
  • Dommerich Elementary School – Breathe Free and Be Happy
  • Dommerich PTA – Yoga Club
  • Fleet Farming – Fleet Fruits
  • Florida Action for Healthy Kids – Happy Healthy Teachers and Schools
  • New Hope for Kids – Building Healthy Families ($2,000)
  • Positive Flow Foundation – Bike Check-out Program and Fitness Center Support
  • Rollins Center for Health Innovation – Ambassadors of Happiness
  • Winter Park Public Library – Active Gardening in Action ($500)
  • Winter Park Public Library – Get Fit @ the Library

There was a healthy mix of winners – municipalities, grass-roots community groups, non-profits and school-based groups, according to Ms. Buss, who added “HCF recognizes how vitally important it is that all sectors of the community partner and continue to infuse health into all aspects of our work.”

A new theme that resonated with workshop attendees was “happiness.”  Some aspect of happiness was included in nearly half of all grant applications. “Happiness–or the absence of it–impacts health, so we were happy to see so much attention paid to positivity,” said Ms. Buss. Plus, as speaker Mark Freid, noted in the HCF grant workshop (and many applications sited), “our brains are 31% more productive when happy or positive, than when negative, neutral or stressed.”

All of these projects help pilot new ideas, build on other successful programs and/or create lasting change – things the judges were looking for. Collectively, these new projects and the many new ideas discussed in all the applications will add up and help fuel the cultural shift that urban gardener, Ron Finley, talked about.

“Kudos to all of who applied and to those selected,” said Ms. Buss. “The staff and partners of HCF look forward to working with these organizations and groups – because partnerships accelerate change.”

HCF is a community-based initiative founded by Florida Hospital and WPHF dedicated to making the communities of Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville the healthiest in the nation.