Cook County announces $12 million grant program for groups working on health, food insecurity

The money will go to organizations supporting COVID-19 education, prevention and treatment, as well as mental health, food insecurity and youth development.

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talks Tuesday about the Building Healthy Communities Grant Program.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talks Tuesday about the Building Healthy Communities Grant Program.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

A new grant program will award $12 million to grassroots organizations that focus on issues such as food insecurity, mental health and COVID-19 prevention, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Tuesday.

The Building Healthy Communities Grant Program is open for business and applications can be filled out at the Cook County Health website.

Grants of between $50,000 and $300,000 will be awarded this fall.

The money will go to support COVID-19 education, prevention and treatment, mental health, food insecurity, youth development and chronic disease self-management for older adults.

“I encourage community-based organizations to apply for funding so we can collectively advance solutions toward racial and health equity in the county we all call home,” Preckwinkle said Tuesday during a virtual news conference.

“We’re doing this because equity is at the core of everything that we do,” she said, noting the money will help the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Groups serving suburban residents will receive a total of $11 million, while organizations serving Chicago share $1 million. 

Anyone interested in applying for a grant is encouraged to register and participate in virtual informational sessions being held April 19, 20 and 21.

Funding for the grant program comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

“We know that community-based organizations have a unique perspective in serving our communities. They have built trust in the neighborhoods that they serve and are best positioned to make change happen in the communities where our patients reside,” said Israel Rocha Jr., CEO of Cook County Health.

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