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Last year, Interact for Health celebrated our 25th anniversary as a community partner and funder. Along with that anniversary, we launched a new strategic plan with a focus on improving mental health and well-being, building community power and addressing policies and systems that too often lead to unjust health outcomes.
With this new strategy, we also arrived at an understanding that if we want to achieve our mission of every person having the ability to live their healthiest life, we must focus on improving the lives of those who experience the greatest injustices in health outcomes. In our region, those are:
We recognize that the words we use matter - and that we must strive to remove the barriers that prevent unjust outcomes in the first place, like racism and discrimination. For the first time in our organization’s history, we’ve called out specific populations, because we know that race, income, and geography play a role in how long and well people in our region live (Local 12).
It is top of mind as we celebrate Black History Month and honor the past, present and future Black community leaders who have created a legacy of innovation and advocacy.
It also informs where we want to have an impact and has allowed us to seek new partnerships with Black-led organizations who center Black communities in their leadership and decision-making, like many of our Advancing Health Justice, Mental Health Equity, and Amplifying Youth Voices grantees (see our Grantee Spotlights of the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio and Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses).
As we continue our imperfect journey to health justice and celebrate Black History Month, we reaffirm our commitment to prioritizing Black communities in our work and centering those closest to the problem in developing solutions. We are grateful for other funders and partners who join us on this journey as we remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”
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