Learning Community Action Grants
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened milk or milk alternatives, and any other beverages to which sugar has been added- are the largest source of added sugar and an important contributor of calories in the U.S. diet.[i] Children are consuming nearly twice as many calories from sugary drinks today than they did 30 years ago and sugary drinks now represent the biggest source of added sugar in children’s diets.[ii] The high consumption of SSB’s has been linked to obesity and nutrition related diseases. Native American children, in particular, have been disproportionately affected. In New Mexico alone, 50% of Native American 3rd graders were either overweight or obese.[iii] This grant is focused on changing this trajectory by removing sugary beverages from our children’s diets and creating healthy habits for our children in their earliest years of life.
Learning Community Action Grants will build on the knowledge, assets and values of Native Americans and their communities, by providing financial support, technical assistance and a peer learning community to catalyze and inspire healthy habits and behaviors among Native American children in Arizona, Navajo Nation and New Mexico.
A total of nine multi-year (2.5 year) grants of up to $100,000 each ($75,000 for grant activities and $25,000 travel allocation) will be awarded. Of the nine, two will be awarded in Arizona (outside of the Navajo Nation) and seven will be awarded in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. These awards will fund tribes and Native-led organizations working on the elimination of SSBs and:
- the increased consumption of safe drinking water and/or
- the promotion of breastfeeding for young children
The first 8 months of the grant period will focus on understanding and documenting the landscape of your community. Specifically, this phase will be an opportunity for community planning and asset mapping to answer key questions, including: What are the strengths and assets of the community? What are the challenges your children face with regard to health issues? What are the primary barriers to eliminating the consumption of SSB’s among children in your community? Who are or will be your partners in this work? What policy or systems changes are needed? How does the community view the consumption of SSB? The information gathered will help build an action framework to identify and implement strategies during the rest of the grant period that focus on the elimination of SSBs and the increased consumption of safe drinking water and/or the promotion of breastfeeding for young children birth to age 8. At the end of the grant period, at least ONE policy or systems change strategy that eliminates sugar-sweetened beverages in your community will have been successfully implemented.
Over the 30 -month grant period, a Learning Community of nine grant recipients will meet 8 times to learn from, share with and inspire one another. The goal of the Learning Community is to provide a forum that facilitates sharing and promotes fellowship among a network of practitioners. Grant recipients will be required to participate in and inform the content of the Learning Community gatherings.
Examples of strategies that could be implemented as a result of your work might be (but are not limited to)[iv]:
- Prohibit SSB’s in early childhood learning centers, afterschool programs and make safe water readily available
- Community policy on no SSB sold/allowed at traditional community gatherings and promote healthy alternatives (ex. Traditional teas and beverages)
- Restrict sales and marketing of SSBs on and near school grounds
- Tax SSBs
- Launch public awareness campaign regarding the importance of the consumption of safe drinking water and the negative health impact of SSB.
- Create and implement a public awareness campaign to encourage breastfeeding friendly workplaces
- Organizations eligible to apply include U.S. based Native American-controlled nonprofits 501(c)(3), federally or state recognized tribal governments or programs, or Native American community-based groups with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. Schools are not eligible to apply unless they have 501(c)(3) status.
- For this particular grant cycle, only applications from New Mexico, Navajo Nation and Arizona will be accepted.
Questions? We are happy to help!
Contact Michelle Gutierrez, Program Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505-867-0775 ext. 269.