Insight Grants

Grant Opportunity: Shape the State Grants for SPARK in Tennessee Due THIS Week!

Leticia Gonzalez at SPARK wanted to be sure our readers were aware of a terrific opportunity due this week for schools in Tennessee. Please see below. Good luck! :)

Shape the State Grant Application Due THIS Week!

Tennessee Middle Schools:  Apply now to transform your physical education program with SPARK through the Shape the State Middle School PE Grant!

Funder: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Health Foundation

In an effort to promote better health for Tennessee students, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation will award up to 20 grants valued at $10,000 each to Tennessee middle schools as part of its Shape the State program. The grants will be used to purchase SPARK physical education curriculum, training, and materials.

Grant Deadline: April 17, 2015

Award Amount: SPARK Middle School PE curriculum, training, and materials valued at $10,000

Click Here to visit the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation website to learn more and apply for this grant.


Highmark Foundation Creating a Healthy School Environment Grants are Now Open! (PA and WV)

The Highmark Foundation is currently offering Creating a Healthy School Environment grants to schools in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Applicants may be public or private schools located within the Highmark service area, which includes 49 Pennsylvania Counties and all 55 West Virginia Counties.*

Applicants must select 1 of the 4 priority areas on which to focus their projects: (1) Bullying Prevention, (2) Child Injury Prevention, (3) Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, and (4) Physical and Environmental Health. Projects must be based on and inclusive of evidence-based programs. The RFP provides a list of suggested evidence-based programs and resources for each priority area, as well as checklists to support baseline and progress data collection and project evaluation. The specifically suggested evidenced-based programs and resources are not required for the Child Injury Prevention, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, and Physical and Environmental Health priority areas–other evidenced-based options may be proposed. Applicants applying for funds through Bullying Prevention, however, MUST select from the list of programs and resources provided.

Eligible applicants and allowable award sizes for 2015 are described in the RFP as follows:


1. PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS (Individual school buildings are not eligible to apply.)

a. Grants up to $10,000 will be awarded to 15 school districts implementing programs that improve access to quality school-based health and wellness programs. We are interested in public schools applying as districts for implementing programs.

b. If awarded, school districts should identify and select schools within their district to receive funding.


c. Mini-grants up to $5,000 will be awarded to 20 non-public school buildings.

d. Private, parochial and charter schools may only apply for the $5,000 mini-grants.


a. $5,000 mini-grants will be awarded to 15 schools.

b. West Virginia schools may only apply for the $5,000 mini-grants.


Potential applicants should note the funder indicates, “Grants will not be awarded exclusively for equipment such as treadmills, bikes, etc. Equipment will only be considered if necessary for the implementation of an evidence-based physical activity program such as SPARK.”


All applicants must apply online by the May 8, 2015.


*Highmark service area:

Western Pennsylvania Counties served: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Erie, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Westmoreland and Washington

Central Pennsylvania Counties served: Adams, Berks, Centre, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Mifflin, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York

West Virginia: All counties in West Virginia are eligible to apply.


Good Luck! :o)


Local Health Foundations as Organizers in the Battle Against Childhood Obesity: Part 1–The Greater Rochester Health Foundation

Last week was an exciting week for The Greater Rochester Health Foundation ( located here in Rochester, NY. Wednesday they held their annual Grantee Showcase, and Friday was the deadline for the 2009 Community Mini-Grants. (Watch for these in 2010!) As Insight was a 2008 Round 1 Community Mini-Grant awardee, I read the current Request for Proposals (RFP—the grant application guidance) and noted the key changes prior to heading over to participate in the Showcase. I was really impressed with what I found at the event and really disappointed to see there wasn’t a higher turn out by community members. I was pleasantly surprised to learn what a great opportunity the Showcase is for networking, learning about the wide range of currently active health initiatives in our community, further connecting with Foundation staff, and increasing my understanding of how this Foundation operates and what it views as important. I realize I have a hometown bias here, but I truly believe GRHF is a national model for health foundations as community leaders—particularly regarding childhood obesity reduction and prevention.

The goal of GRHF’s Community Mini-Grant Program is “To increase physical activity and improve nutrition for Monroe County children and youth from age 2 years through high school.” In 2009, Mini-Grants of $500-$7,500 (depending on the number of children to be served) were open to nonprofit organizations serving Monroe County children ages 2-18. Grassroots nonprofits who do not yet have 501(c)(3) status were even eligible provided an established bank account in the organization’s name existed. This is a prime example of one of my favorite things about this Foundation: accessibility. GRHF makes sincere and ongoing efforts to ensure that any organization with good ideas and commitment to increasing activity and/or improving nutrition can access Mini-Grant funds—even if the organization doesn’t have any grants experience and isn’t large. This is further reflected in the RFP layout. Every RFP this program has released to date has been easy to understand, but what amazes me is that they continue to get clearer. (Anyone who’s spent any amount of time applying for grants knows RFP clarity is a rare and wonderful thing.) Deb Tschappat is the manager for this program. An experienced grant writer herself, Deb does a terrific job of listing succinct, direct questions that keep the focus of the grant proposal scoring on the content and not necessarily the writing. As a proponent of physical activity programs—and particularly those that are locally-based—and a writer who has seen a lot of vague RFPs, I really appreciate this approach. I’m certain it was helpful to me when Insight applied to GRHF last year, and I have a very significant amount of experience with grant funding on this topic.

So… What did we do with our money? Insight created the Maplewood Kids Get Moving project. Maplewood Kids Get Moving is simply aimed: offer more opportunities for Maplewood Neighborhood children to be physically active. We did this by offering two different activity programs: MKGM Summer Program and Healthy Activity Preschool PlaY Times (HAPPY Times). Both programs have been entirely free to participants. The Summer Program ran three mornings a week for three weeks last summer in a local park and was open to children ages 2-10. HAPPY Times is meeting every Tuesday morning (October to June) at our neighborhood library and is open to children ages 2-6 and their parents or caretakers. For both programs, we utilized the research-based, proven-effective Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH; Physical Education (PE) program to give us a wide range of fun activities we knew would work. We also offer healthy snacks at every session. Most of the staffing is volunteer. Our grant from GRHF paid for liability insurance, CATCH training (which we opened to many other organizations in the neighborhood), a CATCH PE equipment set, Polar E40 heart rate monitors (, pedometers, obstacle course materials, jogging trampolines, etc.

At the Showcase I learned the many ways other grantees have used Mini-Grant funds. Here are just a few examples:
· Creating new opportunities for physical activity through afterschool fitness programs for adolescents and teens
· Parent and child cooking classes focused on healthy eating
· Expanded dance programs
· School-based skating programs operated by outside organizations
· Improved indoor and outdoor play spaces and playgrounds at child care centers and schools
· More physical activity equipment for afterschool programs, churches, and PE classes

You may be thinking, “This is all great, but does it really constitute a national model?” On its own, it’s just a great grant program, but combined with GRHF’s comprehensive approach, it does. The Mini-Grants are one piece of a larger effort that includes:
· a full strategic plan complete with measurable goals
· local research on trends, parent views, activity levels, and BMIs
· larger physical activity and healthy eating grants for area schools
· educating physicians and other primary care providers in obesity prevention and reduction practices
· Healthy Hero awards that honor individuals in the community that are working to reduce childhood obesity
· a 5-2-1-0 ad campaign that leverages stickers, magnets, flyers, mailings, billboards, TV and radio commercials, and parent education events (5-2-1-0 is a nationally-recognized model program. It reminds students and their caretakers that students should strive for: five fruits and vegetables per day, two hours or less of computer and TV time, one hour of active play, and zero sugary drinks.)
· partnering with other organizations and initiatives to go after major national funding streams in order to make policy and environmental changes
· support for other health projects (childhood obesity is a major initiative of the Foundation but not the only initiative) including neighborhood health improvement projects that include policy and environmental assessment and changes aimed at increasing physical activity and healthy eating.

GRHF is outstanding because it has recognized that the issue of childhood obesity is not one that is solved quickly or by one or two types of action. It takes efforts at all levels of the community and the engagement of many people and organizations to turn the tide. GRHF has adopted and invested in a wide range of efforts that will decrease childhood obesity in the Rochester Region by empowering each child to be active and make healthy eating choices every day!

Do you know a funder we should feature? If so, email us at I’d definitely like to talk about the Highmark Foundation, including but not limited to the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge grants, so anyone who is willing to share their experience with that funder, please email!

Insight Grants