TAMPA BAY, November 28, 2023 – The odds of being healthy can often depend on which community you live in. Many people face major health problems because of adverse social determinants of health, which are conditions in which people live shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources.
To sustainably address and improve social determinants of health, the American Heart Association, devoted to a world of longer healthier lives for all, has distributed nearly $400,000 from its Social Impact Funds to three social enterprises in Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida in support of community-led solutions aimed at improving cardiovascular health.
One of the social enterprises is based in Pinellas County and is focused on eliminating hunger by using a unique approach.
This round of funding is part of a multi-year commitment to the Association’s Social Impact Funds from the Sublett Family Trust.
“The programs enabled by the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds reflect a like-minded collective of organizations who are dedicated to changing the landscape of health equity in our communities,” said Donna Sublett of the Sublett Family Trust. “Through this first-time infusion of funding by the Social Impact Funds within South Florida, we are taking an important step to help transform the lives of families and create a healthier and more vibrant community.”
In Tampa Bay, the local recipient is 360 Eats, a non-profit organization that has created an innovative system to bridge the gaps between food waste, hunger and environmental sustainability. By partnering with grocery stores, distributors, restaurants and farms, 360 Eats rescues thousands of pounds of consumable food from being discarded in landfills every month.
"For 360 Eats, this funding from the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds is more than just a financial boost – it's a validation of our mission to reshape the food system, Executive Director and Co-Founder Cameron Macleish said. “Our approach, which addresses the full circle of food insecurity and sustainability, is designed to ensure that nutritious food reaches those who need it most, while reducing waste. With this support, we can expand our efforts, particularly through our Sustain-A-Bowl Food Truck, and move closer to our vision of a community where health and sustenance are accessible to all, regardless of their race, gender, income, or geography."
Social Impact Funds enterprises can be non-profit or for-profit social entrepreneurs working in the community. A governance committee comprised of American Heart Association volunteers and executives review all funding recommendations looking for three key things – demonstrated ability to drive change in historically under-resourced communities, a deep connection to the community itself and an ability to scale for maximum health and economic impact. The Fund specifically supports social enterprises addressing access to health and healthcare, economic resilience and food security.
Other organizations receiving funding from the Association’s Social Impact Funds are providing solutions to help provide access to healthcare, and address economic recidivism:
- Better Together Brands, a woman-owned multi-unit operator of franchise businesses in the home services sectors. Through a unique “impact franchising model,” the company empowers individuals in historically underserved communities to follow a 10-year supported pathway to business ownership from nine available franchises. The fund’s investment will finance expansion into Hillsborough County.
- Connect Care Hero, a tech-enabled engagement platform for senior living facilities that optimizes staff time, delivers curated health-focus content, and monitors the increasing risk of social isolation in older adults. By helping to offset high staff turnover rates or an overall shortage of care teams, Connect Care Hero is working to increase health outcomes in Southwest Florida.
“Where you live should not dictate how long or how well you live – but it does,” said Qiana Cressman, executive director for the American Heart Association in Tampa Bay. “Through the American Heart Association’s commitment to address social determinants of health, communities across Southwest Florida will benefit from the creative solutions of these social enterprises who join our mission to ensure every person has the same opportunity for a full and healthy life.”
Since its launch in 2018 and initial community investments in 2019, the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds have invested in nearly 100 local social enterprises in 16 cities across the country. Learn more about the American Heart Association Social Impact Funds here.
A second funding window for the Florida Social Impact Funds will open in January 2024. Once the window opens, organizations and innovators will be encouraged to submit expressions of interest for funding by visiting heart.org/en/about-us/office-of-health-equity/social-impact-funds/funding-opportunities.
- AHA Social Impact Funds aim to improve health disparities in under-resourced communities
- AHA President’s Advisory: Structural racism causes poor health, premature death from heart disease and stroke
- AHA’s 10 Commitments: advancing cardiovascular health for all including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter) or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
For Media Inquiries:
Johnny Johnson, Johnny.Johnson@heart.org