CHICAGO, March 22, 2023 – Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap in the country with a difference of 30 years between communities just nine miles apart[1]. The conditions in which people live explain in part why some are healthier than others[2].

The American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, is providing $850,000 in funding through its Social Impact Funds to Chicagoland entrepreneurs and organizations actively working to break down social and economic barriers to health equity including economic empowerment, healthy food access, housing, recidivism, access to quality healthcare, transportation and educational opportunities.

“When people face housing instability or lack access to fresh, nutritious foods or quality education, their health suffers,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer for the American Heart Association. “We are grateful for Oscar and Cathy Munoz’s support through their Pave it Forward Foundation to help advance community-led solutions that will dismantle the barriers that worsen economic, social and health inequities allowing every person the same opportunity for a full, healthy life.”

Chicago organizations are invited to submit formal expressions of interest to the American Heart Association before 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday, April 14, 2023. Applicants for the Social Impact Fund can be at any business stage and can be non-profit or for-profit social enterprises. A governance committee comprised of key American Heart Association volunteers and staff executives review all investment requests looking for three key things – demonstrated ability to drive change in under-resourced communities, an organic connection to the community itself and an ability to scale for maximum health impact.

A virtual “town hall” information session will be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. CT. Community members and American Heart Association staff will unite to discuss local challenges and opportunities related to health equity across the Chicagoland area to ensure available funds are focused to address the greatest local needs. Register here to join the online discussion.

Contributions from lead donor the Oscar and Cathy Munoz Pave it Forward Foundation established the Association’s Social Impact Funds in Chicago in 2022. The Munoz’s gift also supports this current call for applications. The Tullman Family Foundation joins this round of funding to deepen the investment into Chicagoland’s under-resourced communities.

“I want to thank our fellow stakeholders for joining in the effort to address cardiac care inequalities that affect our city, backing the innovative ideas of on-the-ground social enterprises that are making a life-saving difference for our friends, family and neighbors,” said Oscar Munoz, longtime supporter of the American Heart Association, member of the Association’s CEO Roundtable and former executive chairman and CEO of United Airlines. “I know that my own survival from a heart attack and heart transplant is thanks to so many life-saving resources that remain out of reach in too many of our neighborhoods. We are calling on social enterprises across the city to join the American Heart Association’s 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, including the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund, have invested in more than 100 local social enterprises across the country. Learn more about the American Heart Association Social Impact Funds here.


Additional Resources

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.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

For Media Inquiries:

Jorie Goins, 312-476-6604,

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

[1] Department of Population Health | NYU School of Medicine | City Health Dashboard (June 2019)

[2] Magnan S. Social Determinants of Health 201 for Health Care: Plan, Do, Study, Act. NAM Perspect. 2021.