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Health coalition outlines plans for spending grant money

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 11:03 a.m.

The Greater Wichita YMCA, on behalf of the Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita, is moving forward with plans for the $2.4 million community transformation grant it received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October 2012.

The federal grant was one of 40 community transformation grants distributed nationwide.

Mim McKenzie, executive director of community development for the Greater Wichita YMCA and chairwoman of the coalition, said that money will be spent on a number of initiatives over the next two years.

About $1.2 million will go toward a “healthy living campaign.”

Sullivan Higdon & Sink, an agency with offices in Wichita, Kansas City and Washington, D.C., will develop the campaign, according to a news release from the agency.Although the campaign is still in the brainstorming phase, it will be “Wichita-specific,” said Jessica Richardson, SHS brand reputation manager.

They expect to launch the campaign by early summer, she said.

About $700,000 of the grant will go to the City of Wichita, McKenzie said, for planning and implementation of a master bike plan, which was recently approved by the city council.

The coalition will also conduct a food assessment to determine where more fruits and vegetables may be needed – like in the downtown area or in schools. That project will cost about $25,000, McKenzie said. It hopes to release its findings in May or June and hold a public meeting to discuss them.

About $240,000 will be used by the Center for Community Support and Research at Wichita State University, which is being hired to determine whether the funds from the grant were used effectively.

The remaining grant money will be used to partner with Tobacco Free Wichita in 2014 to expand its campaign, pay for operational costs and fund consultants and staff training.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com.

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