From left are Elizabeth González Suárez, vice president of Community Life at The Community Builders; Denisha G. Porter, director of Health Promotion and Worksite Wellness, Creating Healthy Communities at the Cincinnati Health Department, and Dr. Monica Mitchell, senior director of community relations at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The Avondale Children Thrive initiative has been selected by a coalition of 12 funding organizations to participate in the BUILD Health Challenge, a national program that puts multi-sector community partnerships at the foundation of improving health for everyone. The Cincinnati-specific project will focus on maternal and child health and serve residents in the Avondale neighborhood.

Avondale Children Thrive is one of 19 partnerships selected to participate. BUILD awards funding, capacity building support, and access to a national peer-learning network. The program emphasizes cross-sector collaboration among local non-profit organizations, hospitals, and public health departments to address upstream conditions that create opportunities for better health. BUILD selected Avondale Children Thrive because of its Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-driven (BUILD) ideas to improve the health of its residents.

Avondale Children Thrive is comprised of The Community Builders—a leading nonprofit developer of mixed income housing, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and The Cincinnati Health Department. These organizations will work together, with guidance from BUILD advisors, to identify and implement innovative solutions to community challenges. Matching funds of $500,000 from Cincinnati Children’s, combined with BUILD’s $250,000 two-year grant, will further extend the partnership’s capacity to improve maternal and child health in Avondale.

Cincinnati has the third highest child poverty rate in the U.S. and leads the nation in infant mortality. Avondale Children Thrive seeks to improve the health of expectant mothers and children under the age of 6 with three aims: First, recruiting and training a network of neighborhood health champions. Second, coaching young families on heath topics ranging from breastfeeding to early education. Third, the partnership will foster a healthier neighborhood environment with a new full-service grocery store, consumer incentives for healthy foods and smoking cessation programs.

“The Avondale Children Thrive partnership will provide infants and young children with a healthy start,” said Stephanie Anderson Garrett, vice president of communications and fund development for The Community Builders. “Together with Cincinnati Children’s and the Cincinnati Health Department, we are building a neighborhood grocery and creating access to healthy food. Avondale Children Thrive will empower young families to adopt healthy habits, such as breastfeeding and smoking cessation. We are honored to have the support of the BUILD Health funding coalition and are committed to building a healthier future for the children of Cincinnati.”

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