NEW YORK, February 13, 2024 – In New York, people who live in East Harlem can expect to live an average of 19 years less than those who live just two miles away in the Upper East Side[1]. This life expectancy gap is nearly equivalent to the difference in life expectancy between low-income and high-income countries. The science tells us that physical conditions in which people live explain in part why some are healthier than others[2].

To sustainably address and improve social determinants of health, the American Heart Association, which is marking one hundred years of service saving lives, has distributed $500,000 from its Social Impact Funds to four social enterprises across New York. These organizations are actively working to break down social and economic barriers that can impact cardiovascular health.

  • Brooklyn Packers (BP) is a Black-led worker-owned cooperative whose mission is to build food sovereignty in Brooklyn by ensuring quality food is always accessible to low-income, food-insecure community members. BP serves as a conduit between farms to source, pack and distribute locally grown produce through a weekly community supported agriculture program.
  • Nourish Spot is a black-owned quick service establishment offering nutrient-dense salads, smoothies and soups made with fresh fruit and produce. Recognizing the neighborhood’s persistent health challenges, the initiative is working to help heal community members through food.
  • She Matters is a digital platform that improves health outcomes for Black women through building understanding and trust amongst healthcare professionals and mothers by providing access to community, certified healthcare professionals, education, and culturally relevant resources.
  • Strong Children Wellness is an integrated healthcare network that embeds tech-enabled physical health, mental health and social care services within trusted community-based organizations to provide comprehensive care for psychosocially and medically complex children and families in under-resourced communities.

This funding is part of a multi-year commitment to the Association’s Social Impact Funds portfolio made by Liz Elting, Michael Burlant and the Elizabeth Elting Foundation which established the Elizabeth Elting Fund to prioritize support for women-led organizations and entrepreneurs from New York’s under-resourced communities.

“Approximately nine out of 10 new businesses need capital while women-led startups receive less than three percent of all venture capital investments,” said Liz Elting, longtime supporter of the American Heart Association and founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation. “Everyone should have the opportunity to thrive, yet for many entrepreneurs and startup organizations, this lack of support can be a roadblock to success and the communities they serve without critical resources. Helping these champions advance their work across maternal health, food security and healthcare access will break down economic and social barriers to health and help everyone live longer, healthier lives.”

Social Impact Fund enterprises can be non-profit or for-profit social entrepreneurs working in the community. The Fund specifically supports social enterprises addressing access to health and health care, economic resiliency and food security.

“Where you live should not dictate how long or how well a person lives – but it does,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer for the American Heart Association. “Through a shared vision, the Elting Fund and our Social Impact Funds will support these organizations that are providing vital services for healthcare access, maternal health resources and food security to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere.”

Since its launch in 2018 and initial community investments in 2019, the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds have invested in more than 100 local social enterprises across the country. Learn more about the American Heart Association Social Impact Funds here.

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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 a century. During 2024 –our Centennial year – we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries:

Mark Hurley, 212-878-5932,

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

[1] Department of Population Health NYC 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.