Annual Report 2018

Executive Letter

In 2018, our team put everything on the table.

Internally, we reflected on conversations with funders, community leaders, and other partners about our work. We wrestled with difficult questions about how to best create health and wellbeing for all people. We re-examined our mission, our vision, our name, and our goals. We then distilled all of this thinking into a new strategic framework to boldly declare who we are and how we’re contributing to a more just and healthy nation. The framework is both a guide for our team and our promise to you.

During these conversations, we recognized gaps in our capacity to accelerate equity. So we partnered with We-Collab to conduct an internal assessment of our culture, values, team norms, communication methods, decision-making processes, organizational goals, and underlying factors of bias, privilege, and power. In 2019, we will implement key recommendations from We-Collab’s final report in order to strengthen our ability to achieve equitable, healthy changes in communities.

We also renamed and rebranded our organization. For 16 years, we were known as Active Living by Design; and while active living was our founding focus, our work has included other healthy community strategies for more than a decade. Our new name, Healthy Places by Design, emphasizes our long-held belief that place impacts health more than our genes or our healthcare system.

And externally, we clarified our approach to community change initiatives. We’ve seen how spaces become places when people live, work, learn, and play in them. When they infuse their histories, cultures, stories, and visions of their futures into them. We know that every place has unique assets and opportunities. And we believe in the power of people to harness those assets and reshape their communities into healthier places to live.

With significant, internal changes in 2018 laying the foundation for impactful collaboration with our partners, we are eager for all that 2019 will bring as we continue listening, learning, and refining our work so that more people can create healthier places, by design.

Risa Wilkerson
Executive Director

Places We Served in 2018

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Project Highlights: Accelerating Equity


Cultivating Healthy Communities


Aetna Foundation


The Health Collaborative


Danville Regional Foundation

Project Highlights: Advancing Action


Alamance Wellness Collaborative


Impact Alamance


Upstream Action Acceleration


New Jersey Health Initiatives


Wake County Healthy Community Case Stories


John Rex Endowment


Walkability Action Institute


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

Project Highlights: Lifting Leaders


Community-Centered Health


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation


Healthy Neighborhoods Fund


New York State Health Foundation


Opportunity Neighborhoods Quality of Life Planning Process


Danville Regional Foundation

Project Highlights: Enhancing Collaboration


Collaborative Learning


County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute


South Bronx Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods


New York Community Trust

Key Services in 2018

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Thank You!

Our Team in 2018-04
We couldn't do it without you.

Thank you to our clients and partners for supporting Healthy Places by Design's work to advance community-led action and proven, place-based strategies that ensure health and wellbeing for all. Your partnership with our team will have lasting impacts in communities across the country.

Thanks also to our Advisory Board members and external advisors in 2018, who provided valuable insights and asked important questions. We are a more effective organization because of your insights.

And, most importantly, thank you to all the local leaders who work tirelessly every day to make your communities healthier places to live.