Wake County Healthy Community Grant

John Rex Endowment
Wake County, NC



From 2014-2017, John Rex Endowment embarked on and completed the first initiative of its kind in Wake County, North Carolina, driven by the belief that municipal governments play an important role in creating healthy and equitable places. The Wake County Healthy Community (WCHC) grant supported six municipalities and their partners to improve policies and built environments in order to increase access to healthy food and active living opportunities, particularly for vulnerable children and families. Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Raleigh, and Zebulon received funding and technical assistance to support their success.

In 2018, building on our one-on-one coaching and technical assistance to the WCHC municipalities, Healthy Places by Design celebrated the grantees’ accomplishments by writing, designing, and producing the Local Governments as Health Champions: Wake County Healthy Community Case Stories report.


Our Support

One of the core components of Healthy Places by Design’s work is to help communities across the country advance local action. By sharing the strategies, challenges, and successes of communities that have made progress toward a culture of health, we deepen knowledge in the healthy communities field. The WCHC Case Stories trace the history of the initiative, lift key lessons from three years of progress, and describe the work of each municipality. They also highlight strategies that other communities can use to incorporate health into government programs, services, master plans, and policy decisions. And most notably, the report makes the case that local governments can still have a profound effect on their communities’ health.

To support the WCHC initiative, Healthy Places by Design:

  • Conducted a formative assessment, through key stakeholder interviews and focus groups, to identify factors impacting healthy eating and active living in Wake County children;
  • Created healthy weight goals, strategies, and program design that align with the John Rex Endowment’s mission and five-year plan; and
  • Currently implementing new grant program and providing technical assistance.

Specific services also included:

  • Strategic planning;
  • Grant program design;
  • Tool and resource sharing;
  • Coaching and technical assistance; and
  • Assessment and evaluation.



“Healthy Places by Design’s team sees the big picture and the needed details. They right-fit and right-size their focus and know when it’s best to address vision, purpose, strategy, or logistics. That’s a tremendous asset.”

Program Director, John Rex Endowment