The Building Healthier, More Equitable Communities (BHEC) initiative aims to address the social determinants of health through changes to the built environment and the community investment system in selected New Jersey cities, including support for efforts around equitable recovery from the current health and economic crisis.


The four BHEC cities have been selected! To learn more, click here.


Reinvestment Fund is leading this new initiative, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), to support cross-sector collaboration in four cities. The initiative will work with local-, regional- and state-level organizations over three years to: create cross-sector learning communities; spur change to systems and policies to improve health and well-being; and advance community-driven, data-informed development. BHEC will provide financial resources, technical assistance, coordination of peer gatherings, and targeted trainings.

The COVID-19 crisis has further highlighted how the social determinants of health and the built environment impact health and well-being. BHEC will meet cities where they are in terms of recovery in brick-and-mortar development (e.g., affordable homes or healthy food retail), authentic community engagement, and changes to the community investment system throughout the initiative.


In 2019, Reinvestment Fund partnered with RWJF, building off the work of the Invest Health Initiative, to identify eligible BHEC cities, exploring resource and subsidy streams and the community investment system through interviews with a broad, diverse set of stakeholders across New Jersey.

Ten cities were determined to be eligible: Asbury Park, Bridgeton, Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Millville, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson, and Perth Amboy.

To submit an Expression of Interest in applying to participate in BHEC, visit (no “www” required) and create an account for the lead applicant of your cross-sector collaboration by clicking “register here”. Once you have registered and logged in, click the “funding opportunities” button in the top left corner of the dashboard. Among the opportunities, you will see “Building Healthier, More Equitable Communities (BHEC)” and a button to apply now. Click there to be taken to the Expression of Interest application! Please email help requests to with any questions or technical challenges.

Leading with an equity frame, Reinvestment Fund will work with selected cross-sector collaborations from four cities to build partnerships, support advocacy, and provide technical assistance, through targeted coaching, convening, and other supports, in response to the challenges that communities currently face as they plan for an equitable recovery and advancement of community development priorities.

More specifically, city teams will gain access to development related support for program duration and predevelopment funds, data analytics products, flexible financing, and technical assistance support adapted to local needs.

The objectives of the initiative include:

  • Identify shared priorities among cities’ cross-sector collaboratives for recovery with a focus on built environment challenges.
  • Deepen cities’ understanding of the relationship between the social determinants of health, equity, and community development.
  • Strengthen cross-sector partnerships and facilitate resident engagement.
  • Make sustained actions to improve the systems, such as policies, practices, resource flows, and incentives that facilitate investment in projects and programs that accelerate equitable recovery; Facilitate state, philanthropic, local, and private resource alignment around community priorities.
  • Improve cities’ capacity to identify and leverage streams of capital and to finance investments that promote well-being and equity through financeable built environment projects.