Four Puget Sound social entrepreneurs receive funding from Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund

The American Heart Association's Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund invests in sustainable, community-led solutions addressing health inequalities in under-resourced communities

SEATTLE, Thursday, February 25, 2021 -- To sustainably address housing equity and food insecurity in the Puget Sound area, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world's leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, today announced four Puget Sound-based businesses and nonprofits will receive $480,000 in funding from the Association's Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund.

The nationwide fund provides financial resources in evidence-based, community-driven entrepreneurial solutions to local health equity challenges.

Jeff Bezos provided a financial gift to launch the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund in the Puget Sound region, which will be distributed in two rounds of funding. The next opportunity for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to submit expressions of interest will be in the fall 2021.

The first round of fund recipients -- all minority or women led -- are:

Chief Seattle Club a native-led human service agency that provides a continuum of indigenous-designed trauma-informed housing services integrated with wellness to reduce homelessness for American Indians/Alaska Natives in Seattle/King County. Its staff are equipped with the ancestral knowledge and skills to develop a level of trust that is proven to create positive housing outcomes for the American Indian/Alaska Native community.

Living Well Kent is an immigrant-led nonprofit focused on creating a healthier, more equitable food system. LWK's Food Access program disrupts the trends of food insecurity for low income and immigrant residents by leveraging the assets that exist within the community. Its multi-faceted model: 1) equips residents with farmland 2) provides farmers with technical assistance; 3) operates sales outlets through farmers markets and 4) increase the purchasing power of low-income immigrants and refugees through the awareness and acceptance of nutritional subsidy benefits.

Tacoma Farmers Market's Fresh Express Mobile Market is a women-led two-sided marketplace that purchases fresh, healthy food and produce from local farmers and then sells the food in low-income food desert neighborhoods within Pierce County through its mobile markets. The Fresh Express Mobile Market currently operates at 14 sites where it accepts and matches SNAP and EBT benefits to increase access to healthy food by making it affordable for low-income families.

Weld is a social enterprise that breaks down the barriers to housing and employment for returning citizens within the Seattle region. Weld provides transitional housing to citizens reentering from incarceration, homelessness and/or active addiction as well as on the job training and working interviews to break down employment barriers. Because 100% of the staff has lived experience, WELD has been able to create a strong connection with the community that has led to positive outcomes and a true environment of transformation where everyone is invited to belong, believe, and become.

While significant advances have been made in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment, health results are disparate across economic, racial and ethnic groups. According to the County Health Rankings, only 20 percent of a person's overall health is determined by clinical medical care, while the rest is determined by social and economic factors, as well as physical environment. [1] Approximately 50 million people in the United States are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease because they lack the most basic needs — healthy food, clean air and drinking water, quality education, employment and housing.[2]

Since its launch in June 2020, the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund has supported 11 social entrepreneurs and nonprofits in New York, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. The fund honors the late Bernard J. Tyson, long-time American Heart Association volunteer and former Kaiser Permanente CEO. Tyson worked tirelessly to overcome structural and systemic barriers to support social justice and equitable health for all.

To learn more about the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund and future funding opportunities, visit heart.org/ bernard-j-tyson-fund.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public's health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries: Francesca Minas, 206-683-6226, francesca.minas@heart.org
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)


[1]  County Health Rankings Model The County Health Rankings is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The County Health Rankings illuminate opportunities for improvement by ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation across four Health Factors: Health Behaviors (30%), clinical care (20%), social and economic factors (40%), physical environment (10%).

[2] United Way ALICE: The Consequences of Insufficient Income 2017 Report