Community Engagement for Equity

Community Examples


Engage Diverse Stakeholders Within the Community

Baldwin Park, CA
Baldwin Park moved beyond an informed community engagement model to authentic collaboration and sustainable resident empowerment through People on the Move, a multilingual, multicultural initiative that trains resident leaders to become content experts and to shepherd each healthy community strategy and/or policy from inception to implementation. As a result, the city has changed the way it involves residents in policy making. For more information, please read the full story.

Fitchburg, MA
Fun ’n FITchburg capitalized on Fitchburg’s diversity by creating the 50-member Community Mobilization Network. It trained and involved eight youth peer leaders from three low-income priority neighborhoods and trained and paid bilingual, bicultural adult resident mobilizers to increase participation in public housing and low-income neighborhoods. Their work on the city’s Adopt-A-Park program resulted in formal adoption of 16 Fitchburg parks, among other successes. Read the full story.


Engage Youth

Watsonville and Pajaro Valley, CA
Jóvenes SANOS, a youth leadership and advocacy group in Watsonville-Pajaro Valley, prepared grassroots advocates by combining advance training and real-time opportunities for youth to advocate for equitable and culturally relevant healthy eating options in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, and the Greater Watsonville Master Bike Plan. The Jóvenes SANOS leaders influenced adults and peers to create and shape a healthy culture in their community. Read the full story.

Louisville, KY
Youth became a critical part of healthy community advocacy efforts in Louisville. Youth from several neighborhoods used surveys, Photovoice and digital storytelling to advocate for change with metro council members and city officials. Working with the local YMCA, they launched Metro Youth Advocates (MYA). Youth contributed to the establishment of several Healthy in a Hurry corner stores in food desert neighborhoods, the hiring of a young person as a produce manager to support the stores and the confirmation of Louisville as host of the 2014 Southern Obesity Summit. Youth remain involved in their community after their participation in MYA. Read the full story.


Embrace Creative Tension

Columbia, MO
The Unite 4 Healthy Neighborhoods partnership in Columbia addressed significant creative tension around issues of race and class by slowing down its timeline and investing in greater community engagement, cultural competency, strategic relationship building, youth advocacy and leadership development. Read the full story.

Kingston, NY
The Healthy Kids for Kingston partnership managed tensions related to differing individual and organizational interests by creating an advisory network, focusing on co-creating a vision and collaborating with residents in more focused and meaningful ways. This generated more room for participants to engage in hands-on, program-oriented opportunities and encouraged partner self-restraint as community leadership asserted itself. Read the full story.

Portland, OR
Healthy Active Communities in Portland addressed creative tension in its efforts to improve low-income, multi-family housing developments and prevent childhood obesity in East Portland by addressing other health issues (such as asthma) and resident concerns where feasible. It chose to advance educational approaches to healthy housing over regulatory ones that might deter further development of multi-family rental housing. Read the full story.


Be Patient and Shift Power to Achieve Equity

Central Valley, CA
The Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program built the capacity of grassroots community residents, many of whom were immigrants, to advocate for community change. It developed a region-wide network of strong leaders and achieved significant equity results across an eight-county rural region. Participants in a culturally, linguistically and literacy-level appropriate community leadership training program put lessons into action as they achieved self-identified policy or environmental changes in their respective communities. Read the full story.

Phoenix, AZ
The Maryvale on the Move initiative in Phoenix worked ener-
getically and persistently to engage, prepare and involve low-income residents through training, assessments and a variety of real-time opportunities to collaborate with professionals and advocate for change. It produced solid health-equity results across an array of strategies by removing barriers to participation, lifting community voices and embedding equity into a number of important policy and environmental changes. Read the full story.