1. Wysen, Kirsten MHSA


Multisector partnerships that put racial equity and community leadership at their center can create pathways to healthy communities. With funding from the Seattle Foundation and King County government, Communities of Opportunity was launched in 2014 to close gaps by place and by race in health outcomes and in measures of 3 social determinants-employment, housing, and social environment. The initiative is governed by a multisector partnership with community leaders in the majority. Relationships and decisions made during Communities of Opportunity's early years led to an expansion of the work from a $1 million per year place-based focus to an $8 million per year policy and system change enterprise. The initiative now funds 68 nonprofits to improve racial equity by increasing community capacity, investing in leadership development, and making policy changes. A committed group of community leaders worked with the funders to create an innovative structure that redresses past and current racial injustices and supports local leaders acting on ambitious priorities. A shared analysis of structural racism in the past and the present can deepen relationships and increase local government and funder credibility. When health departments and funders create the space for community leadership, initiatives can have broader reach and greater sustainability. We are in the early stages of developing the evidence base for improving community health equity and further work is needed to identify and disseminate successful processes and interventions.