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North Philly Gets a $1 Million Boost for Health Equity

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As many as 50 million people in the United States are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease because they lack necessities—such as healthy food, clean air and drinking water, quality education, and employment and housing—which may contribute to a person’s longevity and quality of life.

The issue hits home, as Philadelphians are dying early from cardiovascular disease more rapidly than residents of any other major city in the country. The Nicetown-Tioga, Sharswood-Stanton and Strawberry Mansion neighborhoods rank among the lowest for length and quality of life, as well as for health factors like physical environment and social and economic factors.

Now, there’s a new development that may improve the city’s most dire needs. American Heart Association’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund, which invests in proven and community-driven entrepreneurial solutions that address social determinants of health, has received a $1 million gift from the Andréa W. and Kenneth C. Frazier Family Foundation to increase health equity in North Philadelphia.

Since its launch in June 2020, the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund has supported 11 social entrepreneurs and nonprofits in New York, San Francisco, and Oakland, California. The latest contribution, announced on January 12th, will be released in two rounds of funding to local for-profit and nonprofit organizations in the Nicetown-Tioga, Sharswood-Stanton and Strawberry Mansion neighborhoods.

“Social and economic determinants have a profound impact on health outcomes in our communities. We are grateful for the opportunity to help support the Tyson Fund as it implements entrepreneurial solutions to address this issue,” Andréa and Ken Frazier said in a joint statement. “Throughout his life, Bernard J. Tyson worked to broaden access to the healthcare system, and we are pleased to support the continuation of his legacy in North Philadelphia, a community in which our family has deep roots.”

A virtual town hall event was held on February 11th to increase community input and identify where additional support is needed from the fund. Funding decisions will be announced this spring.

“We’ve seen first-hand the dire health impact some of our neighborhoods experience here in Philadelphia,” Jennifer Davis, Senior Vice President of the Association’s Philadelphia, Delaware, and Southern New Jersey region, said. “Your zip code shouldn’t determine your quality of life — or your lifespan. Through the generous support of the Andréa W. and Kenneth C. Frazier Family Foundation, we’re investing in grassroots solutions that will make a significant impact on the health and well-being of people who live in some of Philadelphia’s most under-resourced communities.”

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