Newsletter Contents
Building Equitable Communities
Upcoming VML Conference
Spotlights of the Month
Tools & Resources
Grants & Funding
About Us
Stay Connected!
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Building Equitable Communities
We all know that healthy eating and active living is good for our community's health, but did you know that HEAL policies can also enhance the local economy and contribute to new economic development? Increasingly, residents are drawn to compact and livable communities that facilitate healthier lifestyle habits. Municipal leaders can support these types of amenities by  passing policies  that enhance healthy  food environments through access to farmers markets, urban gardens, and healthy grocery stores, and make it easier for residents to walk and bike by providing well-maintained parks and enhancing bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

As municipalities promote healthy eating and active living and develop into more livable, transit-oriented, and compact communities -- there is a risk of excluding longtime residents who may be unable to afford increased rent or property taxes, or who feel excluded in a changing environment. Municipal leaders should work with residents, staff, and fellow policymakers to ensure equitable economic development that  ensures that residents of all incomes can benefit from a city or town's economic growth.

The HEAL Campaign recently launched a new resource series to help municipal leaders facilitate equitable economic development that  promotes a thriving city/town for all residents. 

New Resources Include: 
  • Building Equitable Food Systems -- A fact sheet on how to implement policies and practices to create a more equitable food environment in your city or town.
Upcoming Virginia Municipal League  Conference 
This October the  HEAL Campaign will recognize Virginia HEAL members at the Virginia  Municipal League (VML) Annual Conference  in Roanoke. The VML Annual Conference is an opportunity for the HEAL Campaign to recognize and promote local governments' HEAL achievements and new Campaign members. As cities and towns pass new HEAL policies, they can advance to higher levels of recognition - Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. 

The HEAL Campaign will be contacting Virginia cities and towns in the coming weeks with a link to the application for recognition. All updates will be posted on our website. 
Spotlight | Laurel, Maryland
At the recent Maryland Municipal League  Conference in Ocean City, the City of Laurel was awarded Platinum -- HEAL's highest recognition level. In this month's Spotlight feature, read how this HEAL City is implementing healthier workplace wellness practices through staff wellness programs and healthy vending. Find the article here

Interested in having your city or town featured in an upcoming Spotlight article? Please send a request to Sydney Daigle,
Tools & Resources 
Blog | Health Equity & Food Systems  - How Does food policy impact opportunities to promote health and equity? This blog post from ChangeLab Solutions explores the impacts of eight food policies. Learn about policies with... 
  • Negative impacts: SNAP work requirements, minimum wage exemptions for food system workers, and supermarket restrictive covenants.
  • Negative and positive impacts: Food Safety Modernization Act regulations and mobile vending regulations. 
  • Positive impacts: Sugary drink taxes, smart snack requirements in schools, and institutional food procurement. 
Webinar | Connected and Engaged: Community Outreach Strategies for Transportation  This webinar from America Walks will focus on the importance of community engagement and collaboration in designing and creating walkable and movable neighborhoods for all residents. Learn how organizations and individuals can build relationships and connections for a more active and engaged future. This webinar is intended for those just starting out on the walking path as well as those interested in learning more about the topic. The webinar will be held on August 14th, 2019 at 2 PM EST. Register here
Article | Making Places for Everyone -- With Everyone -  This article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review explores the power of equitable placemaking strategies to spur growth and improve quality of life in cities. The author explains how public spaces are a critical component to vibrant, livable communities; however, it is vital that strategies related to equity and inclusion help foster this type of development. One of the critical components to this is realizing community priorities like implementing public parks and green space. Click here to read more. 
Webinar | Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics - This webinar from  Michigan State University provides an introduction to the newly published guide,  Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics. Speakers share examples of metrics in four different theme areas and ways the guide can be used. Two food system leaders share how they are using data and metrics to drive system change. Find the webinar recording here
Article | The rise of urban food forests  This article from Smart Cities Dive explores the evolving trends of urban food forests that serve as community spaces and food access resources. Community food forests serve as a local food source for food banks' a habitat for bees, birds and other wildlife; an agricultural education and enrichment tool; and a workforce and leadership skills development space. Read how this trend is taking off in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and cities throughout the country.  Check out the article here. 
Grants & Funding 
National Endowment for the Arts: Our Town Grant Program  - The National Endowment for the Arts is accepting applications for creative placemaking projects that i ntegrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. These projects require a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $200,000. Grant applications are due on August 8, 2019. More information can be found here
Maryland's Community Parks & Playgrounds Program - 
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is providing grant funding to incorporated Maryland municipalities to restore existing and create new park and green space systems. Applicants are encouraged to emphasize those projects that offer public benefits by enhancing quality of life in existing population centers and demonstrating the use of low impact development techniques, materials and management. Applications are due by 3:00 PM on August 21, 2019. More information can be found here
About Us
HEAL is a project of the Institute for Public Health Innovation in  partnership with the Maryland and Virginia Municipal Leagues and funded by Kaiser Permanente, founding partner.

For more information on the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign, please visit the website at or contact HEAL Campaign Manager, Sydney Daigle at
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