The BUILD Health Challenge Announces 13 New Communities Leading the Way to Transform Community Health

Washington, DC, May 23, 2023 — Today, The BUILD Health Challenge® (BUILD) announces its Fourth Cohort of awardees, including 13 new communities throughout the U.S., that will receive a total of $8.5 million in funding and resources to advance health equity over the next three years. 

Launched in 2015, BUILD addresses the root causes of our most pressing health challenges by changing the conditions in our society, environment, and policies that impact health and well-being at the population level. While access to care remains a critical issue in the U.S., it is only a small piece of the puzzle when addressing health disparities and long-term well-being of a community. BUILD invests in community-centered, multi-sector partnerships that strive to ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. 

“BUILD communities are working to level the playing field,” said Melissa Monbouquette, Executive Director of BUILD. “Health disparities across the country have been caused or exacerbated by systemic racism and disinvestment; no organization or sector can address all of the interlocking drivers of health inequity alone. True health transformation requires a shared responsibility to move these systems of oppression and neglect towards justice and universal well-being.”

BUILDis excited to fund collaboratives that are addressing critical issues such as healthy housing, food security, the built environment, and mental health through an equity- and justice-driven lens. Each community-based collaborative is backed by a local health department, and a hospital or health plan that provides monetary and/or in-kind support to the project, collectively adding more than $4 million to the overall award total.

The selected projects and communities are:

  • A Resident-Led Economic Opportunity Initiative to Improve Health Equity – Economic opportunity [Muskegon Heights, MI]
  • Addressing Trauma in Foreign-Born Communities through Mental and Behavioral Health – Mental and behavioral health, immigration [St. Louis, MO]
  • Bridges to Care San Antonio – Mental and behavioral health [San Antonio, TX]
  • BUILD Payette – Healthy housing [Payette, ID]
  • Building a Healthier Cincinnati – Maternal and child health, economic opportunity [Cincinnati, OH]
  • Build Environment Work Group of South King County – Built environment, transportation [Seattle, WA]
  • From the Ground Up: Building Health for Allentown children by Improving Early Childhood Development – Child health [Allentown, PA]
  • Improving Health and Development through Access to Childcare Initiative – Child health [Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ]
  • Race, Food, and Justice: Resident-Led Change to Support a Sustainable Food System – Food access [Cleveland, OH]
  • San Diego Refugee Communities Health through Housing (HTH) Project – Healthy housing, immigration [San Diego, CA]
  • San Joaquin County Transforming Communities for Healing – Mental and behavioral health [Stockton, CA]
  • WHOLE Schools Movement – Mental and behavioral health, child health [Durham, NC]
  • Working Towards an Equitable Health Landscape: Food is Medicine – Food access [Boone, NC]

The partnerships in Cleveland and Cincinnati are returning BUILD awardees, leveraging the momentum of their previous BUILD award and their long-term commitment to advancing resident leadership and justice in their communities.  

“Since BUILD’s launch in 2015, we’ve been in awe of how the movement for community-centered health initiatives has grown across the country and the collective impact of these partnerships,” said Monbouquette. “By supporting capacity building, amplifying community voice, and sharing the stories of what works, BUILD communities are demonstrating what the future of equitable community health practice looks like.”

The first three cohorts of BUILD included 55 initiatives across 25 states. To date, the awardees’ efforts have yielded promising policy changes and community health solutions, including local regulations ensuring access to clean water; creating publicly accessible databases to identify neighborhood-level trends; abolishing food deserts by creating sustainable food enterprises; and creating new organizational structures that center community voice in decision making.

BUILD is proud to acknowledge the invaluable support of the philanthropic partnership that guides this effort. This collaboration blends national perspective with issue-specific and regional expertise, and aims to inspire similar teamwork among organizations at the local level. The Fourth Cohort is made possible with support from the BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, de Beaumont Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Leonard Parker Pool Institute for Health, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Missouri Foundation for Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Trinity Health, Vitalyst Health Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

Learn more about the BUILD Health Challenge communities at