New ‘AHA Social Impact Fund’ will improve community health in Boston and Flint/Southeast Michigan

Initial $5 million investment from Stevie and David Spina generously funds infrastructure and grants

August 07, 2018 Categories: Program News

DALLAS, August 7, 2018 The American Heart Association—the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke—announced today a $5 million donation from long-term supporters Stevie and David Spina of Wayland, Massachusetts. This donation is the first for the Association’s new Social Impact Fund unveiled at the Martha’s Vineyard EmPOWERED Voices panel to nearly 100 community activists. The AHA Social Impact Fund will support and empower communities ready to change their own trajectory of health and well-being by focusing on issues of economic growth, healthy food access and educational opportunities in selected communities of need. The fund will begin in Boston and Flint/Southeast Michigan and rely on the community’s knowledge of what is needed to create solutions and make an impact.

According to the County Health Rankings, only 20% of a person’s overall health is determined by clinical medical care, while another 50% is determined by social and economic factors and physical environment, referred to as social determinants of health. While we’ve made significant advances in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment, the health results are disparate across economic, racial and ethnic groups.  

“Conditions where people live, learn, work and play vary widely and impact their health and longevity, which is why access to affordable housing, fair wages, strong school systems, safe streets and healthy foods are vital to help the millions of Americans burdened by these social determinants of health,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “The association’s social impact fund, started by the generosity of Stevie and David, is the catalyst needed to diminish disparities and transform communities so that every person can reach their full health potential neighborhood by neighborhood through organic solutions and powerful partnerships.”

The goal of this social impact fund is to engage people in creating thoughtful solutions to significantly improve health and life expectancy in their communities. The Association will convene key partners who are committed to helping individuals and families live longer including community members, social service organizations, business leaders, civic leaders, colleges and universities, local health systems and public health organizations to develop community-level solutions that improve health and extend longevity.

“The AHA Social Impact Fund provides a clear opportunity for us to focus our philanthropy in communities of special interest to us, such as Boston and Flint,” said David Spina. “Stevie and I believe it’s a good design for others who seek to empower communities, and hope that others will join us in this important philanthropic effort by supporting the AHA Social Impact Fund in other localities throughout the nation.”

The AHA Social Impact Fund will make a localized difference to improve community well-being.  Community organizations, individuals, educators and others will be invited to apply for funds that will positively impact local communities.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Jennifer Pratt: 214-706-2229; Jennifer.pratt@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org