Five grantee communities—Bloomfield, Clifton, Montclair, Nutley and West Orange—are now part of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network. The network has 43 grantee communities across the state supported by four funders in addition to Partners for Health. The Steering Committee believes communities learn best from their peers though face-to-face regional and statewide meetings, and that personalized coaching and technical assistance for each site can maximize the impact of small grants. New Jersey Healthy Communities Network Steering Committee is comprised of partners who guide the movement and identify and share financial and capacity building resources that focus on improving healthy eating and active living through evidence-based strategies and shared measures.
All communities are implementing proven strategies to help people eat more healthily and be more physically active—the essential behaviors for preventing chronic disease. A sample of successes from the five communities that Partners is supporting:
- Some store owners in Montclair’s Healthy Corner Store project are stocking healthier products on their own—because it’s good for business. Montclair also just won a $1,500 competitive grant to renovate one of the corner stores!
- Informed by a statewide workshop on conducting walking audits, Bloomfield health department staff members are working with EZ Ride and Voorhees Transportation Center to gather community input to identify where they should implement changes to make routes to school safer for walking and biking.
- Nutley invited some 20 community leaders—corresponding to each of its seasonal farmers’ markets—to lead well-attended walks before each weekly market opened.
- New grantee Clifton health department brought the City Green mobile market truck to city hall weekly throughout the summer and fall. Some 600 people bought fresh produce and the Clifton health officer declared a “home run.”
- West Orange’s middle school principal and the local coalition lead by the YMCA collaborated to create a garden on school property and are now uniting to push for safer walking routes to the school.
To read community blogs posted throughout the year, or to learn more about the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network, click here.