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About the Initiative

Leading with an equity frame, Reinvestment Fund is working with selected cross-sector collaborations from the four BHEC cities to build partnerships, support advocacy, and align resources, through targeted facilitation, 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.

Through BHEC, city teams are able to leverage annual grant support of $100,000 for program duration (3 years) and predevelopment funds, data analytics products, flexible financing, and technical assistance support adapted to local needs.


Building off the lessons of the Invest Health initiative

Starting in 2016, Reinvestment Fund launched the Invest Health initiative with support from RWJF. This initiative informed the development of the BHEC initiative. Prior to its design, Reinvestment Fund spent a year getting to know the New Jersey community development landscape, building partnerships with leading stakeholders in the field, and understanding the existing capacity and experience throughout the state. In the spring of 2020, multi-sector city teams applied and were selected through a competitive grant process to participate in the three-year program, which began in December 2020.

Program Objectives

The goals of the BHEC initiative

  • 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 from health and economic crises, as well as facilitate state, local, philanthropic, 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 built environment projects.
Key Dates

Bi-monthly team workshops

BHEC city teams participate in bi-monthly workshops and cross-team discussions around topics relevant to their work.

Dreaming bigger dreams


MARCH —As teams embark on their journey with the BHEC initiative, teams are encouraged to think big – what goals do they have to help improve health, equity, and the community investment system in the next 10 years? 5 years? 3 years of the BHEC initiative? How can they leverage the BHEC funds and resources to catalyze their work beyond their current pipeline of projects? Marcus Littles, Founder of Frontline Solutions will facilitate the Learning Workshop and Cross-Team Discussion sessions. The BHEC teams will brainstorm together and within their teams on how to maximize their work toward bold outcomes for racial justice, health equity, and equitable investment. To watch the recording, click here.

Undesign the Redline


APRIL — “Designing the WE” is a framework for unearthing our most deep, systemic, and entangled crises. This workshop will explore the history of structural racism and inequality, how these designs compounded each other from 1938 Redlining maps until today, and how “we” can come together to un-design these systems with intentionality. BHEC city teams will explore questions such as, “Where does redlining fit in a history of devaluing and disenfranchisement? How was it combatted by people with another vision for society?” and hear from the experiences of those affected by Redlining and humanize the lessons of history. The signature piece of the Undesign the Redline project, this traveling exhibit invites participants to learn the history, interact with the stories and invent the future of undoing structural inequities. Become a part of a larger conversation, as many of the elements of the exhibit have been inspired by and added to by those who have visited previous installations. Depending on COVID-19 safety protocols, a site visit to explore the interactive exhibit in Trenton, NJ may be planned for a later date. To view the recording, click here.

Eliminating the Racial Wealth Gap


MAY — New Jersey has one of the largest wealth gaps in the nation. The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (with data from Prosperity Now, 2018) reported that the median net worth for a white family is more than $309,000, while it is just $7,020 for a Latino family and $5,900 for a Black family. These gaps in wealth between Black and white households reveal the effects of accumulated inequality and discrimination, as well as differences in power and opportunity that can be traced back to this nation’s inception. To truly address equity, working to close this gap through investing in improving the conditions people live in (e.g., humane housing, basic needs, etc.) as well as those individuals themselves as human capital (e.g., meaningful wealth and work, etc.) is critical. This set of learning opportunities will help BHEC city teams consider how the racial wealth gap impacts their cities and begin to brainstorm state level solutions with local implications. To watch the recording, click here.

Using & Leveraging Data for Measuring Equity Impacts


JUNE — Combining disciplined data and policy analysis with capital investment can address entrenched problems in disenfranchised neighborhoods. Reinvestment Fund’s Policy Solutions group prioritizes finding evidence-based solutions and using data and policy analyses to improve community assets such as affordable housing, healthy food, quality K-12 education and early childhood education, accessible healthcare, jobs, and healthy real estate markets. Ira Goldstein, President of Policy Solutions, and Phil Vu, Policy Map, will discuss strategies for BHEC city teams to better leverage data to make equity-informed decisions.