Spark of Change Grant Impacts

In 2022, we awarded four Spark of Change mini-grants that were intentionally focused on addressing health equity challenges, finding solutions, and amplifying voices at the neighborhood level. Neighborhoods have a shared history and collective community characteristics that set them apart. Awardees demonstrated how their project would impact a specific neighborhood or community in our service area.

Each project sought to advance health equity in a localized way. To date, three organizations have completed their projects and reflected on their outcomes. We are pleased to feature community impacts from the following initiatives:

  • Tomorrow’s Neighbors: Rewriting Reentry
  • Hope Station: Black Girl’s Chronicles Learning Series
  • YWCA: Human Library Experience

Harvey Milk, the late famous activist and community leader once noted, “If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods.” If we are to effectively address the negative impacts that health inequity has created, we must allow space for intentional neighborhood-based solutions. Through the Partnership’s core funding priorities and targeted Request for Applications, we strategically fund community organizations to advance access to affordable health services, health education, health promotion, mental and behavioral health services, and more. We encourage applicants to purposefully engage neighborhood members as partners and leading advocates in the change process.

Our 2022 Spark of Change grants center on the use of counter-narratives to broaden our understanding of existing health inequities in our region and potential solutions to those inequities. Learn more about what we fund and recent Spark of Change grants, below.

Tomorrow’s Neighbors: Rewriting Reentry

The mission of Tomorrow’s Neighbors is to empower Returning Citizens to stop the cycle of crime by becoming responsible community members. Their vision is to significantly reduce crime and recidivism rates in Pennsylvania.

Through this $5,000 grant project, the organization generated a series of videos that aims to showcase returning citizens who have successfully reintegrated back into society after incarceration. To date, two videos have been broadcast in every state prison in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The videos have the potential to be viewed by over 39,000 justice involved citizens

Learn more and view Advice from Returning Citizens in the video, below:

Hope Station: Black Girl’s Chronicles Learning Series

Hope Station bolsters community pride and creates opportunities for personal advancement throughout the Carlisle area. Their vision is a safe, thriving, and culturally vibrant Carlisle community.

As part of the Black Girl’s Chronicles Learning Series, which focuses on topics and issues faced by Black women and girls, Hope Station planned an Empowerment and Educational Luncheon. In partnership with W.I.F.E. Co., a Black woman owned business focusing on financial literacy, the luncheon, “Your Net-Worth is NOT Your Self-Worth” included over 20 participants. These individuals had an open and honest discussion with a  skilled professional about how one’s financial situation can affect your mental health. Economic empowerment is a direct response to the social determinant of health, “Economic Stability.”

Learn more about the Black Girl’s Chronicles through The Sentinel.

YWCA: Human Library Experience

YWCA Carlisle & Cumberland County is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Human connections form the fabric of tight communities, but human behavior often doesn’t change without direct connections to individual people and their stories. The YWCA connected members of our community through a Human Library this past fall. Participants (over 550 people) were led through a series of intimate fireside discussions with community members of diverse backgrounds, to help our community move the needle on equity and inclusion through human connection.

View YWCA Carlisle & Cumberland County’s Facebook Page for photos from the event.