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Kresge grant supports partnerships to improve child health in communities around the U.S.


The Kresge Foundation’s Health Program has made a grant of $800,000 to the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health for the center’s Building Community Resilience (BCR) initiative.

Kresge’s grant matches an $800,000 grant awarded last year from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support the initiative’s work to improve children’s health and life outcomes by aligning resources and systems to strengthen community resilience, including pediatric health care and local governments. Currently, the initiative consists of five pilot sites across the country, which serve as a learning collaborative through which best practices are developed and shared. Those sites are: Cincinnati, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Portland, Oregon; Wilmington, Delaware; and Washington, DC.

The grant by Kresge advances a new partnership between BCR and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), which will initiate and develop partnerships with local health departments to support child, family and community health.

“The BCR initiative is taking an innovative and collaborative approach to closing the gap between clinical care and community-based resources for children who have experienced trauma,” said Katie Byerly, a health philanthropy fellow at Kresge. “By working in local communities and engaging local public health departments in the network of resources, BCR’s work will serve as a model for how to address some of the most upstream determinants of health.” 

The initiative views community and individual resilience, or the ability to “bounce back,” as essential to preventing and mitigating negative health effects that result from exposure to adverse childhood experiences including abuse, neglect, parental depression, addiction and divorce.

“The aim of Building Community Resilience is to allow children, families and communities to not only bounce back, but to bounce forward,” said Wendy Ellis, who developed the BCR initiative as part of her work as the Michael and Lori Milken Public Health Scholar at the Milken Institute. “At our BCR test sites, we are seeing community members, policymakers, representatives of large systems all coming to the table. They’re using the BCR framework, tools, data sharing platform, and collaborative forum to create homegrown resilience and driving real systemic change.”

BCR was launched through Moving Health Care Upstream (MHCU), a joint project of the Nemours Foundation and the University of California-Los Angeles. MHCU was also funded by Kresge.