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San Francisco-Oakland social entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations receive funding to break down health barriers

(NewMediaWire) - January 11, 2022 - DALLAS - In the San Francisco Bay Area, people who live in West Oakland can expect to live on average of 10 years less than those who live 7-miles away in the more affluent Berkeley Hills. To sustainably remove the social and economic impediments to health equity, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, today announced three San Francisco/Oakland-based organizations will receive $650,000 in grant funding from the AHA’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund.

Contributions from Lynne and Marc Benioff, Kaiser Permanente, Anne Wojcicki, the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation and CommonSpirit Health are funding the opportunity for organizations in the Bay Area to sustainably address the social determinants of health like food insecurity, mental health, early childhood development and economic stability.

“Investing in organizations and social entrepreneurs who are making a lasting impact in communities in the Bay Area is only possible because of our generous and committed donors,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the AHA. "In order to ensure every person has the same opportunity for a full, healthy life, the barriers that worsen the economic, social and health inequities of vulnerable communities must be dismantled.”

Where a person lives shouldn’t determine how well or how long they live, but it does. About 80% of a person’s health is determined by factors other than access to and quality of clinical care. Through its Bernard J. Tyson Social Impact Fund, the AHA invests in local entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations that are breaking down the social and economic barriers to healthy lives.

The San Francisco-Oakland area grantees are:

Uptrust, Inc. is a for-profit social enterprise that leverages technology to help users navigate the criminal justice system through its app-based reminder system. Uptrust works to reduce failure to appear, bench warrants and subsequent arrests. The platform works by connecting clients to their Public Defender or Probation Officer via cell phone, informs them of upcoming obligations through automated, timely, personal communication and shows support and positive reinforcement.

Cognitive ToyBox is a woman-run business that proposes a new paradigm for early childhood assessment: a hybrid observation and direct (game-based) assessment platform to assess the skills and knowledge that are important for children’s later success. The combination of observation-based and game-based assessment minimizes the implicit bias from teacher assessment and provides real time data to match instruction to level of development through a more efficient process.

Youth ALIVE! is a partner organization for violence prevention, intervention and healing in Oakland. Youth ALIVE! provides comprehensive approaches to prevent violence before it occurs through youth empowerment, advocacy, community health support and its main hospital-based violence intervention named “Caught in the Crossfire.”

Since its launch in June 2020, the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund has supported 50 social entrepreneurs and nonprofits in New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, the greater Washington D.C. region and Oakland, California. The fund honors the late Bernard J. Tyson, long-time AHA volunteer and former Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO. Tyson worked tirelessly to overcome structural and systemic barriers to support social justice and equitable health for all.

To learn more about the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund and future funding opportunities, visit heart.org/ bernard-j-tyson-fund.       

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries: Andrea Barish

510-501-2919; andrea.barish@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org