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"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6
December 2021
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Vitalyst Health Foundation Announces 2021 System Change Grants
By Cindy Dempski - Thursday Apr 29, 2021
As part of its ongoing efforts to improve health and well-being by addressing root causes, Vitalyst Health Foundation announces three $175,000 Systems Change Grant recipients for 2021. This year’s funded partners are: Local First Arizona, Pima County Community Land Trust, and The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

“This year’s Systems Change Grants address challenges illuminated by the COVID-19 pandemic: access to quality and affordable food, housing and medical care. Changes to each of these systems have the potential to significantly improve the health not only of Arizonans today but for generations to come,” said Melanie Mitros, Vitalyst Health Foundation’s Director of Strategic Community Partnerships.

Local First Arizona as a member of the Coalition for Farmland Preservation will tackle challenges facing local agriculture such as utilizing and developing new polices and regulations that support sustainable growth with consideration for health equity. With the 4th fastest growing county in the US, Arizona’s long-term access to affordable farmland is a serious challenge leaving local farmers and our local food system vulnerable. Additional partners include TigerMountain Foundation, Maricopa County Food System Coalition, Pinnacle Prevention, Blue Sky Farms, and Arizona Land and Water Trust.

Pima County Community Land Trust as the fiscal sponsor for Cuadro, LLC will increase access to affordable quality housing by establishing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Incentive Program. This partnership includes the City of Tucson Housing & Community Development Department and multiple neighborhood associations. The program is designed to counter gentrification-driven displacement and is projected to include zoning incentives that encourage and support urban infill, locally-led development, socially integrated housing, and mixed-income neighborhoods.

The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in partnership with the University’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women, Southwest Recovery Alliance, and Sonoran Prevention Works will work to achieve equitable access to drug treatment for Arizonans with opioid use disorder. The “Evidence to Action to Normalize Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Access in Arizona’s” goal is to expand access to well-researched, proven, and highly-effective medications through community driven changes to key state policies and financing structures.