The ACLU of Arizona was one of four Arizona nonprofits to receive a 2018 Innovation Grant, a program led by Vitalyst Health Foundation. Vitalyst partnered with the Arizona Community Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and The NARBHA Institute to award $500,000 for projects that have a direct impact on building healthy communities around the state.

“Vitalyst’s Innovation Grants are awarded each year to support projects that use breakthrough approaches to address community issues,” said Suzanne Pfister, president and CEO of Vitalyst Health Foundation. “And while the projects we’re funding are extremely unique, they all have one unifying factor -- they address the health of a community by impacting the social determinants of health.”

The ACLU of Arizona received a $125,000 grant to advance the Demand to Learn campaign's work to transform school discipline policies and practices that disproportionately affect people of color. The ACLU of Arizona will be partnering with Black Mothers Forum, Morning Star Leaders, Inc., and Rising Youth Theatre to build a movement in Arizona to keep kids in schools, improve students’ physical and mental health, and ultimately provide for greater economic stability for all Arizona families.

"We're excited to work with these amazing organizations to help reduce the number of students of color who are pushed out of school or prevented from enrolling," said Nichole Cassidy, the ACLU of Arizona's director of philanthropy. "We appreciate the commitment Vitalyst and the Arizona Community Foundation have shown to making access to public education more equitable, which will improve the wellbeing of Arizona families and our communities."  

The other Innovation Grants awardees were the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Flowers and Bullets Collective, and Sonoran Prevention Works.

About Vitalyst Health Foundation

Vitalyst Health Foundation is on a mission to connect, support and inform efforts to improve the health of individuals and communities in Arizona. Established following the sale of the St. Luke’s Hospital System to a for-profit corporation in 1996, the foundation operated as St. Luke’s Charitable Health Trust (1996-1999) and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives (2000-2016). Today, Vitalyst is an independent, non-partisan public foundation dedicated to improving access to care and coverage throughout Arizona; advancing policies and practices that result in healthy communities that are accessible to all; increasing the capacity and effectiveness of community-based leaders, organizations and coalitions; cultivating collaborations and innovations that leverage the elements of a healthy community; and increasing civic participation for inclusive decision-making to advance health equity. Over its history, the foundation has invested more than $100 million and established itself as a key thought leader, convener and catalyst of key initiatives – ranging from statewide health policy and systems to development of local community gardens. More information is available at http://vitalysthealth.org/.

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