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Grassroots Funding to Address Health Disparities

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More than half of all deaths in Mecklenburg County are due to chronic disease conditions. Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners approved funding for grassroots initiatives led by community-based organizations to address health disparities through chronic disease prevention and/or management. We are defining grassroots initiatives as community-based organizations in Mecklenburg County that benefit communities through a shared sense of collective action to effect change.   

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to provide grassroots capacity-building resources and programming to community-based organizations.  These organizations will address chronic disease prevention and/or management in communities experiencing health disparities, especially in Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) Priority Areas. These areas are linked with higher rates of chronic diseases, infectious diseases and deaths related to these conditions.  

What Are Health Disparities?

Health disparities are preventable differences in disease, injury, and opportunities to achieve good health. Race or ethnicity, sex, age, disability, socioeconomic status, location, and other factors contribute to a person's ability to avoid chronic disease and stay healthy.

Our 2021 Grassroots Awardees

Thirty-six community organizations applied for the grassroots funding for small-scale programming and capacity-building resources. Ten awardees were selected based on their proposals. Even in an environment of COVID-19 caution and awareness, the awardees moved quickly and decisively to implement their plans and utilize the funding during the spring and summer.

The 10 awardees focused on projects that expand access to physical activity, encourage healthy eating, and offer multiple opportunities to monitor and boost wellness among their clients, customers, and stakeholders. The wide variety of wellness projects has already touched many lives in Mecklenburg County. More than 1,500 residents have greater opportunities to pursue healthier lifestyles, and our partner organizations have enacted more than 20 changes that impact their policies, systems, or environments that make it easier for clients and stakeholders to make healthy choices.


Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center
At least 600 people a year are expected to enjoy and benefit from a new wellness area on campus. Funding was used to install a new walking trail at their residential facility, educational signage on the trail, and outdoor exercise equipment.

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Camino Community Development Corporation
Camino Vida is a lifestyle intervention tailored to support Latinx patients suffering from chronic diseases. Funding was used to outfit the new Camino Vida Wellness Center with fitness equipment, provide health education, and assessments.

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C.W. Williams Community Health Center
Funding was used to train and certify community health workers and other staff as lifestyle coaches. In addition, wireless glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, and digital scales were purchased allowing for remote health monitoring of clients. These new services will impact 200 clients in the first year.

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Hope Haven
Serving 140 residents, funding was used to install a new 1/4-mile walking path around campus for families, visitors, and staff to utilize. Trail signage and digital pedometers were also purchased.

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House of NC, Inc.
Funding provided laptop computers to train senior citizens on the AEROBOCOP 2.0, an interactive platform that engages senior populations and youth together to educate on healthy behaviors. The funding also contributed to exercise sessions, virtual cooking classes, and evaluation of clients.

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Atrium Health's Levine Cancer Institute
Funding supported the development of Renacer, a community-based cancer survivor support program for Latinx cancer survivors. The program includes the development of virtual activities and tracking tools, recruitment, a grocery store tour, and cooking demonstration videos.

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The Life Project of North Carolina
Funding was used to address food access for residents living in hotels and motels off Sugar Creek Road and surrounding communities. This was completed through healthy cooking demonstrations, healthy food and fresh produce distribution, and nutrition education.

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McLeod Addictive Disease Center
In keeping with McLeod’s tobacco-free campus policy, funding was used to provide nicotine-replacement therapies (NRT)—patches, gum, and lozenges—to patients upon admission and as recommended by clinical staff. McLeod was able to purchase enough NRT so their clients have access to a 12-week supply.

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Mecklenburg Council of Elders
Funding went towards the purchase of fitness equipment for the Diversion Youth Fitness Program. This program, which serves 60 youth with criminal records, uses boxing and martial arts to encourage healthy behavior. Such youth are often at risk for health disparities due to under-employment and marginalized living situations.

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Metrolina Association for the Blind
Funding supported a four-week telehealth series to educate and empower diabetic individuals with vision loss. Thirty participants were enrolled in multiple programs where a registered dietitian provided training on healthy living tips. Each participant received a healthy heart kit containing an audible scale, audible blood pressure machine, yoga mat, and pedometer.

Public Health is grateful to our awardees for their tireless work in encouraging healthy living among those in our community who are most at risk for chronic disease. Stay tuned for more news about the success and critical impact of our partners’ projects.

Click here to view a photo album of our awardees' work.

View or download an infographic to be shared with your communities and networks.



Allison Nelson, Senior Health Manager, Office of Policy & Prevention, 980-314-9065 or


Mailing Address:

Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

Office Location:

Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211



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