What are the specifics of the Community Health Collaborative™ grant? How much money is provided each year of the grant? Are there likely extensions beyond the 5-year commitment?

The Community Health Collaborative (“CHC”) is a unique philanthropic partnership launched by Novo Nordisk’s U.S. Corporate Giving & Social Impact (“GSI”) to enhance the culture of health around young people in Trenton, New Jersey.  Novo Nordisk has committed approximately $500,000 per year to Trenton, for a period of three to five years, through nine community partners that make up the collaborative.  Decisions regarding future funding will be made by Novo Nordisk based on program success.

Focused on increasing the proportion of children at a healthy weight and preventing the early onset of type 2 diabetes, CHC is an authentic collaboration in which member organizations work together with a common goal, coordinated initiatives, shared impact measurement, and a backbone organization to coordinate activities and gather data for outcome measurement. Collaboration partners are:Trenton Health Team, YMCA State Alliance, The College of New Jersey, Isles, Inc., Wellness in the Schools, GoNoodle, George Street Playhouse, Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, Trenton YMCA

What is the relationship between Novo Nordisk and the CHC?

Novo Nordisk is committed to supporting resources in the communities where employees live and work. The CHC supports Novo Nordisk’s Triple Bottom Line, which calls for all decision-making to be financially, socially, and environmentally responsible.

By focusing on the lifestyle choices of young people that may contribute to chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, the CHC leverages Novo Nordisk’s unique institutional expertise and fully captures the spirit of the Novo Nordisk Way, creating the opportunity for sustainable and meaningful change on issues that matter to real people in the Trenton, New Jersey area.

Who leads the CHC? Who or what sets its strategic direction?

Although Novo Nordisk’s U.S. Corporate Giving & Social Impact group launched the CHC, all Collaborative members have a stake in its strategic direction, programming, and measured outcomes.  A “backbone” organization, Trenton Health Team, is funded by GSI to handle the CHC’s day-to-day operations.

How will the CHC approach its focus on Trenton youth that include programs to improve access to healthy, affordable foods; increase opportunities for physical activity; and educate parents and caregivers on healthy lifestyle options?

Grantee partners have been selected by Novo Nordisk based on their experience with school-based programs related to our goals, with an emphasis on organizations that have a track record of success in the Trenton community.  Grantee partners address district-wide policy standards, in-school programs and afterschool activities.  The collective approach addresses a healthy culture for the wholeness of the community, the school, the family unit and the child.

It seems clear that THT was selected as the CHC “backbone” agency because of its track record in collaborative efforts to make the city a healthier place to live. What specifically have you done that qualified you for this selection?

Novo Nordisk made the decision to select and fund a backbone organization to implement the CHC vision and strategy, support grantees, guide the evaluation process, and build public will to advance the effort.  Given our history, THT is well-positioned to accomplish project goals, building on our connections into the broader community.  By virtue of our collaborative structure, we are naturally connected to partner stakeholders who have a vested interest in the success of the collaborative mission—to improve the health of Trenton.  Both the Board of Directors and Community Advisory Board of THT draw on leading health and social service agencies, as well as educational organizations for their membership.  With all the hospitals, the only Federally Qualified Health Center, and the City of Trenton’s Department of Health and Human Services represented on our Executive Committee, and with established committees and a Community Advisory Board that meet regularly to discuss issues, needs, and strategies, there are mechanisms for ongoing communication in place and a strong collective will to bring about much-needed change for the community.

Another strong advantage for our efforts is the fact that the City of Trenton is a strategic partner, with the Director of Health and Human Services serving simultaneously on the Executive Committee of THT and as a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet.  In addition, THT’s unified Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) process have created a strong foundation and natural vehicle for continuation of our collaborative, community-based approach wherein we engage organization leaders, community residents, corporate partners and funders to help define and advance our initiatives and programs. This effort also dovetails with the City of Trenton Master Plan (Trenton250), which has a strong health component, and which has been supported by THT’s Community Advisory Board.

What has THT done to increase access to healthy food with stores and farmers markets?

THT participates actively in the Trenton Healthy Food and Fitness Network (THFFN), a collective impact coalition that grew out of the NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton, which is operated through the Trenton YMCA and the Statewide YMCA Alliance, both of which are partners in CHC. This coalition has been responsible for establishing four healthy corner stores and has conducted surveys and laid the groundwork for adding more.  In addition, the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market was launched in 2015 through the efforts of this group. The market returns for its second season in 2016 and is open weekly on Monday afternoons, June through October, offering fresh, locally grown produce to area residents, accepting WIC, SNAP, and other payment options to ensure affordability. The market also features health screenings and referral services coordinated by THT plus nutrition counseling through Henry J. Austin Health Center and healthy cooking demonstrations by Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

Are the partners mentioned in the CHC release your only partners? If not, who are your other partners, and why were those specific partners mentioned?

Funded partners were selected through a grant review process conducted by Novo Nordisk.  Each CHC partner, including THT, has relationships they will engage to implement CHC programs and activities.

You previously conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and then created a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for Trenton, how does this program fit with identified needs and health improvement plan?

The 2013 CHNA, revealed obesity rates in Trenton were well above national or state levels, with adults at 39% obese and 49% of three to five year old children overweight or obese (compared to 21% nationally).  This information has guided the CHIP to include goals that include Obesity & Healthy Lifestyles and Chronic Disease: Diabetes, Hypertension, and Cancer.  These areas are indicators known to be related to the development of type 2 diabetes later in life.  Findings in the CHNA were a significant factor in Novo Nordisk’s decision to invest in the Trenton community and in choosing goals and objectives for the CHC program. This grant program aims to improve access to healthy, affordable foods; encourage greater physical activity; and provide healthy lifestyle education for parents and guardians.

What is the governance structure of THT?

THT is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors and relies heavily on guidance from our Community Advisory Board (a standing Board sub-committee) to set the strategic direction for all our community partnership programs, including the CHC.  More information and a list of THT’s current Board members can be found at www.trentonhealthteam.org/about-us/