Idaho Communities Awarded High Five Community Transformation Grants

Three Idaho communities have been awarded funding and technical assistance valued at up to $250,000 as awardees of the High Five Community Transformation Grant. The grant covers a three-year period (2017-2019) and will be used to support projects aimed at improving the health of youth in the areas of physical activity and access to healthy, affordable foods. Precisely how and where the money will be spent will be determined through a collaborative process between community leaders and the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. An additional four communities have been named as "High Five Ambassador" and will receive funding and technical assistance to focus on a key project in their community.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to work so closely with the communities on such an important endeavor," said Kendra Witt-Doyle, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health Executive Director. "Idaho cities play a lead role in creating healthier environments for our youth. Each awardee has a strong desire to create environments for healthier lifestyles and we are honored to help guide the transformation."

Community Transformation Grant Awardees:

  • Bonners Ferry
  • Rexburg
  • Sandpoint

High Five Ambassadors:

  • Homedale
  • Plummer
  • Caldwell
  • Coeur d' Alene

Unique Selection Process
To select the winners of the Community Transformation Grant, the High Five team utilized an innovative approach to recruiting and evaluating communities.

"Traditionally, funders require long, tedious written applications that assume the communities have all the expertise needed to get the results they're after," explains Shannon McGuire, Programs Specialist for the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation's High Five Children's Health Collaborative. "We prefer to work collaboratively, so instead we asked applicants to show their needs and community enthusiasm so we could work together to find the right solutions to create healthier local communities."

To achieve this, the High Five team asked community leaders to create short videos detailing the unique aspects of their community and how the Community Transformation Grants could help. They then posted these videos online and asked residents to show their enthusiasm for the project with a vote for their community. In all, more than 5,000 votes were cast statewide.

"Change is a team effort," says Witt-Doyle. "But the power of partnering an engaged community with the expertise and resources they need can have a tremendously positive impact for years to come."

Lasting Impact
The Community Transformation Grant is intended to engage communities across Idaho to organize collaboration among multiple sectors – education, healthcare, non-profits, government, business and philanthropy – to focus on the reduction and/or prevention of childhood obesity. Community partnerships will engage and mobilize the community to create healthier environments for youth.

Specifically, partnerships will focus on:

  • Cross-sector collaboration to design strategies that focus on the reduction and/or prevention of childhood obesity.
  • Improvement of healthy eating, physical activity, and the built environment for youth.
  • Support of a data-driven strategy development process.
  • Finding ways to sustain the work of the community transformation grant after the three-year period.

Funds may be used for a range of activities to create strategies to increase physical activity and access to healthy, affordable foods for youth. The exact use of the funds will be determined after a process of community brainstorming, buy-in and planning. Each grant recipient will be awarded up to $250,000, depending on the projects selected during action plan development.