The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, has awarded Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) $800,000 over the next three years to support Let’s Go 3.0, which will increase the capacity of community coalitions in South Carolina to identify and address barriers to healthy eating and active living. Coalitions will be able to apply for mini-grants to fund small-scale projects that are needed to help catapult their healthy eating and active living initiatives.
“Over the past several years, we’ve noticed that community change doesn’t always require large sums of money,” says Beth Franco, Executive Director of ESMMSC. “Many communities in South Carolina, particularly our small, rural, or economically vulnerable communities, can leverage small amounts of money to make a significant impact on the health of their community. We believe that these mini-grant opportunities will be a key factor in making sustainable changes and improving lifestyle choices.”
The application process will be open to community coalitions that need assistance in implementing policy, systems, and environmental changes that will increase access to healthy, affordable foods and safe places to be physically active. The mini-grants, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, can be used to implement projects, such as adding bike racks downtown, beautifying neighborhood parks or trails, or supporting local farmers’ markets.
South Carolina has the 12th highest adult obesity rate in the nation (32.3%) and the eighth highest obesity rate for high schoolers (16.3%). Current trends nationwide and in South Carolina show rates beginning to stabilize, suggesting that obesity-prevention efforts over the past decade are beginning to pay off.
“The next few years will be critical to ensure that the progress we’ve seen continues and our collective accomplishments are not undermined,” said Franco. “Through this grant, we’ll be able to help close the gap in many communities and increase opportunities for residents to make healthy choices.”
ESMMSC staff will continue to provide training and support to local coalitions to strengthen their capacity to make lasting community change. ESMMSC’s work with community coalitions currently reaches 36 counties, covering 93% of the state’s population. Recent trainings and reports have included topics like disability inclusion, grant writing, race equity, and the economic impact of active communities.
For more information about the Let’s Go 3.0 initiative, visit our Let’s Go! Grants page or contact Kelsey Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find healthy resources in your community, visit www.letsgosc.org.