The Greater Wichita YMCA, on behalf of the Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita, was recently awarded a $2.4 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The grant was one of 40 Community Transformation Grants distributed nationwide. In total, the U.S. federal agency handed out $70 million in grants.
“We’re elated,” said Mim McKenzie, executive director of community development for the Greater Wichita YMCA. “We hope this creates more opportunities for us.”
In its grant application, the coalition addressed four areas it will target with funds: nutrition, physical activity, obesity and tobacco use.
McKenzie said the grant money will go toward several initiatives in town over the next two years, including:
Lavonta Williams, a city council member who is involved in the coalition, said it will require cooperation and coordination among a variety of groups to bring the plans to fruition.
“This will take everything we do to the next level in building a healthy community,” said Williams, who has been involved in the coalition for several years.
The coalition, under the umbrella of the YMCA, was established in 2004 through a $20,000 grant by the Kansas Health Foundation. It is made up of more than 80 area health and service businesses and individuals that focus on promoting physical activity and good nutrition in the community.