The Michigan Fitness Foundation’s (MFF) SNAP-Ed collaborative of statewide partners focuses on improving the health of Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens, including children, seniors, families, and communities in crisis. SNAP-Ed programs develop community leaders and enable residents to gain knowledge and access resources that improve opportunities to eat healthy food and be physically active. To complement traditional direct education work, SNAP-Ed partners spent a year conducting in-depth explorations of community-level policies, systems, and environments (PSE) and developing deeper organizational capacity to address root causes of health inequities.
Healthy Places by Design serves MFF as a strategic thought partner and consultant to its staff and SNAP-Ed partners, providing expertise on emergent learning, ongoing support structures, and network building. Drawing from our Community Action Model, we have enabled SNAP-Ed partners to frame their analyses around their communities’ unique culture, assets, infrastructure, history of achievement, and challenges.
Specific services that Healthy Places by Design has provided include:
Prior to our engagement with MFF, SNAP-Ed partners had not routinely connected for peer learning. Throughout 2019, as partners shared ideas, successes, and challenges with each other, they expressed appreciation for the opportunity to brainstorm with others doing similar work. These peer learning calls were paired with tailored guidance documents, curated resources, and templates that helped them frame their focus of work. Many partners reported outcomes of new and strengthened relationships with community partners and a deeper understanding of the conditions experienced by SNAP-eligible residents.
“I appreciate that Healthy Places by Design not only brings ideas to the table, but is also willing to listen and adjust. It feels very collaborative. Also, your team’s content expertise is really fantastic; you truly understand that root-cause piece and you knew how to unpack our needs and then develop tools in a format that is user friendly and so helpful.”
Senior Director of Community Impact, Michigan Fitness Foundation
Photo credit: Michigan Fitness Foundation