What is the Healthy Communities initiative?
 
Started on July 1, 2020, Rotary District 7090 committed to a long-term Healthy Communities initiative with the hope it will become a “signature project” for our District. All 66 Rotary clubs in the District are encouraged to become actively involved in efforts to promote the overall health and vitality of their communities, based on documented needs, and in collaboration with other community partners.
 
This initiative is led and supported by a Steering Committee who provide information, Club presentations, and co-ordinate this effort on behalf of the District Leadership Council. While many Clubs will find this opens up new opportunities, some Clubs may realize they are already doing healthy communities work in some form and are asked to designate a member to provide leadership in this area and co-ordinate communications with the Steering Committee.   
 
What type of projects would be considered as promoting Healthy Communities?
 
The concept of a healthy community is a large umbrella, encompassing many facets of community infrastructure, resources, and activities. For the purpose of this initiative four areas contribute to the health of a community and its citizens:
 
  • Healthy Behaviors – e.g., exercise, good nutrition, reduction of obesity, reduction of negative behaviors like smoking, drug abuse, and adequately addressing the mental health needs of the community
  • Healthy Environment (natural & built) – e.g., clean air and water, “walkable” communities, access to locally-sourced food, access to parks and trails for walking and cycling, safe neighborhoods, year-round recreational options
  • Economic Health – e.g., reduction of poverty and homelessness, full employment, adequate investment in community infrastructure and services
  • Civic Health & Social Capital – e.g., active collaboration of government, businesses, community service agencies, schools, faith-based organizations, volunteers, advocacy, and private citizens in efforts to promote community health and well-being.
A Club can consider one or more of these groups when developing a project, or determine that an existing project already fits well within the Healthy Communities framework. As a Club informs itself about the Healthy Communities initiative and its context it is important to be mindful of both the project work and noting the stepwise process of its development. As noted earlier, the community needs and partners oblige Clubs to determine measurable outcomes in their project's development from evidence in reports, surveys, and intended changes, plus engaging in the meaningful conversations with partners who may already be deeply working on the issues. One of the strengths of Rotary is our convening power. This voice includes initiating projects where there is an unmet need by bringing others together, or adding our skills, networks, and fundraising expertise to a cause. Clubs with a Healthy Communities project in mind can consider targeting speakers in this area, partnering with other Clubs, and using the project evidence within the Club strategic planning process. 
 
Resources
 
The Steering Committee develops resources (guides and other documents) and links to existing resources that could be helpful to Clubs as projects are identified and implemented. Feedback is welcome and encouraged.
 
Examples of Projects
 
Here is a brand-new guide developed by Clubs in Western New York to provide advice on tree planting projects. Although some of the information is specific to agencies and resources in Western New York, the principles and general advice may be helpful to any Club in our District that is considering a tree-planting project.
 
 
 
Notes
 
The Healthy Community Initiative group of pages are maintained by Dave Alexander. If you have images, feedback, or examples, please send this in an email to econiagara@gmail.com with Healthy Communities 7090 in the header.