In 2019, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg moved from traditional grantmaking (competitive grant cycles/ RFPs) into a strategic investments model (“listen and learn”).
This decision reflects the Foundation’s belief that community led ideas and solutions have more impact and are easier to sustain. Feedback from listening activities is combined with data and systems readiness, and this helps determine the areas of investment each year. By focusing investments in key areas, change agents funded by the Foundation can accelerate meaningful social change.
Influencing Systems Change
In 2021 and 2022, the Foundation is building groundwork to make meaningful strides to influence policies which will improve the lives of Black and Brown residents in Pinellas County. The Foundation is working to clearly define harmful policies, set an agenda, and take positions of advocacy.
Accelerating Racial Equity
The Foundation will continue its efforts in racial equity education, listening, and relationship building. This work scales services, advances knowledge, grows networks devoted to racial and health equity and/or improves capacity and health outcomes for BIPOC residents in Pinellas County.
Community Wealth to Health
Evidence links greater wealth with better health. In 2021, FHSP hired national consultants to assist in mapping major institutions by geography and their ability to influence institutional changes to improve wealth, health, and life expectancy of St. Petersburg residents. This assessment, paired with an environmental scan and community convening, will help inform future strategic investments.
How Change Happens
The Foundation believes that three shifts must occur in order to achieve systems change for racial equity:
- The public narrative about BIPOC must change to uplift authentic stories and facts.
- The way institutions treat BIPOC must change to remove internal biases and barriers.
- Policies with discriminatory roots must change to be fair for all.
These are long term-goals that begin by elevating relationships with the community, building new connections between systems-level leaders and community, and changing hearts and minds so that when it comes time to vote—the scales have shifted in favor of a healthier, more prosperous future for all.
In the interim of policy change, which could take years, [community partners] are working to meet the needs of Pinellas county residents in the here and now.
The Foundation acts as a connector, a listening ear, and a source of fuel that accelerates the incredible work already being done in this space.