Health Equity Fund

About the Health Equity Fund

The Richmond Health Equity Fund invests in community-led programs, initiatives, and leaders to improve health and quality of life in communities experiencing deep health disparities and the longstanding impacts of racism.

In October 2021, Richmond City Council voted to establish the Health Equity Fund through an initial investment of $5 million from federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. The Health Equity Fund will use a wide range of data and community input about our most pressing health challenges and strategies to address health disparities and racial injustice in our communities by funding innovative, community-led projects across our city. 

Our region has made its greatest strides toward community health and health equity when local government, nonprofits, institutions, and community groups have worked closely together to envision and implement aligned strategies for change. In establishing the Health Equity Fund, Richmond is rethinking effective use of funds and partnering more closely with communities to move toward health equity and racial justice. In 2021, Richmond joined hundreds of localities across the country in declaring racism a public health crisis. The City’s commitment is historic, and follow-through on this commitment means choosing policies, investments, and partnerships that build toward meaningful change for the most affected populations in our city.

Nominations are now open!

You can nominate a person, project, organization, or even yourself for funding through the Richmond Health Equity Fund. After the nomination process closes, nominees will be asked for more details about the scope and emphasis of their work. For more information, contact Ashlie Watts (ashlie.watts@vdh.virginia.gov).

Click the button below to nominate a person, project, or organization–it only takes three minutes!

Partnering with communities to move toward health equity and racial justice.

HOW IT WORKS, FUNDING PRIORITIES, & FUNDING PROCESS

How the Health Equity Fund Works

Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will determine funding priorities for HEF investments by reviewing a wide range of recent data as well as input from residents and leaders with lived and professional expertise in health disparities. Funding decisions will be made in partnership with a Community Advisory Committee that includes people with professional and/or personal experience dealing with health disparities and racial injustice in Richmond. Awards will vary in amount and duration to accommodate both small but powerful community projects and more complex work that may take longer to implement.   

The Richmond Health Equity Fund is managed by Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, a local arm of the Virginia Department of Health and the public health department for the City of Richmond and Henrico County. RHHD serves as the Chief Health Strategist for the Health Equity Fund, providing administrative oversight for all aspects of fund stewardship, award allocation, and grant management oversight. While RHHD serves all of Richmond and Henrico, the HEF will only consider and fund projects taking place within the City of Richmond: we understand deeply that residents in Richmond and Henrico and the broader region face many of the same health challenges and systemic injustices, but the federal funding that makes the HEF possible has been specifically allocated to Richmond and cannot fund projects in Henrico at this time.

Funding Process

Initial Investments — Spring 2022

Health disparities have deepened in communities across Richmond throughout the pandemic, and the City of Richmond and Richmond and Henrico Health Districts plan to provide immediate funding of up to $100,000 to several projects that will have a direct, near-term impact on community health. We are still working with public health leadership and community partners to refine the scope of these investments but anticipate funding projects that address COVID-19 response, Maternal/Infant Health, Substance Use Disorder, Mental & Behavioral Health, and Food Access. Funding decisions for initial investments will be announced in spring 2022. 

Nominate an Organization or Community Leader for Funding

Our region has made its greatest strides toward community health and health equity when organizations have worked closely together to envision and implement aligned strategies for change. To further this work, the Health Equity Fund will invite partner organizations and community leaders to work closely with us to co-create strategies to promote health equity in one of the priority areas outlined in the Building Back Healthier priority area of the City of Richmond’s ARPA spending plan. RHHD, the Community Advisory Committee, and selected partners will collaborate closely throughout the process, and partners will receive funding through the Health Equity Fund to implement agreed upon work.

To help us identify partners for this co-creation process, RHHD is accepting nominations for nonprofits, community organizations, and individual community leaders with the capacity to engage in new projects or expand existing work to better promote health equity and racial justice and address health disparities in Richmond. 

Nominations are now open!

You can nominate a person, project, organization, or even yourself for funding through the Richmond Health Equity Fund. After the nomination process closes, nominees will be asked for more details about the scope and emphasis of their work. For more information, contact Ruth Morrison (ruth.morrison@vdh.virginia.gov).

Click the button below to nominate a person, project, or organization–it only takes three minutes!

The Health Equity Fund Community Advisory Committee

Just as the HEF will prioritize projects that are community-led, community members will help identify funding priorities, select partner organizations to receive funding, and shape how we measure success in our health equity work. The HEF is currently seeking applications for its Community Advisory Committee, which will serve key leadership roles in the HEF, including: 

  • Reviewing partner nominations and recommending projects for funding
  • Informing how we measure success for individual projects and for the HEF as a whole
  • Helping to revise the process for future funding decisions 
  • Identifying ways the HEF can better connect to diverse organizations working to promote health equity and racial justice in our communities. 

Funding Priorities

The leading causes of many health disparities are not a person’s behavior and choices but the underlying conditions that shape their ability to be healthy and well — things like access to quality education and employment, affordable housing, transportation, access to healthy food and green space, and experiences with racism, violence, and trauma. Consistent with the Mayor’s Equity Agenda, the HEF invests in new work — or supports expansions or enhancements to existing work — led by nonprofit and community organizations that directly addresses a range of health disparities, including:

  • COVID -19 disparities to increase full vaccination and decrease spread, illness, hospitalizations and deaths
  • Mental and behavioral health
  • Food access and security
  • Substance use disorder
  • Access to care and health education
  • Maternal and infant health
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Other emergent health outcomes where Richmond’s populations have disparate burdens, as indicated by trends in data and community engagement processes.

The HEF welcomes solutions that provide direct programming to address immediate health outcomes and broader strategies that address the social determinants of health that are the root causes of poor health in communities across Richmond (housing, transportation, economic stability, community support, etc.). 

Funding priorities have been established by layering ongoing, comprehensive data surveillance about all aspects of public health with the many community engagement processes that have taken place over the past few years. Data and feedback sources include: 

Richmond and Henrico Public Health Foundation

Mission

Founded in 2021, the Richmond and Henrico Public Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to develop and mobilize resources in support of the goals of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts in order to promote health and health equity.

Board of Directors

Dr. Danny Avula
Board President
Commissioner of the Department of Social Services
Commonwealth of Virginia

Carolyn Champion
Treasurer
Director of Finance and Human Services
Peter Paul RVA

Rudene Mercer Haynes
Secretary
Partner
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Shekinah Mitchell
Director
Piedmont Community Land Trust

Stephanie Toney, RN
Resource Center Program Manager
Richmond and Henrico Health Districts

Dr. Melissa Viray
Acting Director
Richmond and Henrico Health Districts

Dr. Thad Williamson
Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law
University of Richmond

Contact

Ruth Morrison
Policy Director
Richmond and Henrico Health Districts
ruth.morrison@vdh.virginia.gov 



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