Press release from Buncombe County Health and Human Services:
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved the Isaac Coleman Community Innovation Investment Grants on February 21, 2017. These grants, funded through the Health and Human Services budget, are designed to specifically target efforts to rebuild neighborhood communities and connect residents to economic and educational opportunities.
Research demonstrates that just like individuals, neighborhoods also can suffer from a collective community trauma. Some factors that contribute to this are: poverty, community disruption, lack of opportunity for affordable housing, and discrimination. From early on, these cumulative pressures impact children into their adulthood, hampering the development of the necessary social, emotional, educational, and work skills to achieve self-sufficiency.
Based on recent data, we know that traditional efforts have not decreased disparities in health, education and economic opportunity. This requires us to think differently and employ different strategies. Toward that end we must operate at four levels at the same time: individual, neighborhood, institutional/agency and policy. The Isaac Coleman Economic Community Investment plan calls for targeted investments at the neighborhood level. As a community we cannot leave their talents behind. We need every person in our community to realize their potential and contribute to our community.
RFPs were sent out on March 13, 2017 and applications were due on April 28, 2017. Twenty-two applications were received. Each of the applications reflected significant community efforts to build stronger pipelines for educational and economic opportunity. Applications were evaluated using factors derived, in part, from the THRIVE Model (see Prevention Institute).
Seven projects were funded (see table below and attached summaries for details of projects) for a total of $635,426. This funding represents the allocated funding of $500,000 for the Isaac Coleman grants as well as additional money of $135,426. These additional dollars were secured from grants such as Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities and behavioral health. The funding for these grants, through Health and Human Services, are focused on addressing trauma and building resiliency within communities. We are bringing all of these efforts under one umbrella so that we can build a strong learning collaborative, build relationships across efforts and share learning and resources where appropriate.
In addition to those funded, the County is also extending an invitation to those not funded – to be a part of the Isaac Coleman Learning Collaborative. Through this collaborative we hope to make available resources and training to further support these efforts. For updates on the Isaac Coleman Learning Collaborative, please visit buncombecounty.org/coleman.