Celebrating social entrepreneurs: EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator awards funding for community focused solutions to problems that are barriers to health and wellbeing

We are pleased to introduce the 2018 EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator grant recipients! Hosted in Baltimore, MD at the Reginal Lewis Museum the Urban Health Accelerator brought together entrepreneurs from around the country to present their business models to a panel of judges including, Sidra Smith, Film Producer, Brian White, Executive Vice President of LifeBridge Health and the MAA’s own Executive Vice President, Jeremy Beauchamp.

Through a rigorous six-to-eight-week EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator curriculum funded by the American Heart Association, hosted eight social entrepreneurs to gain real-life knowledge in market positioning, brand development, fundraising and other functions to enhance their business models and demonstrate the viability of their projects. The selected qualifiers presented their business cases before the panel of judges for the chance to be selected for grant funding of their programs.

Leah Lizarondo from 412 Food Rescue was awarded the $50,000 grant for her concept to deliver health impact through a technology nonprofit that aims to solve two of our biggest problems today- food waste and hunger. Their mission is to prevent perfectly good food from entering the waste stream.

Baltimore’s Francoise Marvel, MD received a $25,000 grant for Corrie Health, who’s vision will improve communities by re-engineering heart attack discharge and recovery.

The remaining six individuals were awarded $2,500 to put toward their community changing ideas. They are:

  • Kathryn Doornbos, Redemptive Cycles: Facilitating bicycle ownership as a bridge to independence, employment, community involvement and physical health for low-income and homeless clients.
  • Travis Fenderson, STEP Foundation: A police officer run summer camp providing financially challenged children with nutrition, exercise, mentorship and conversation around social issues within the community.
  • Terry Gao, JeffDESIGN: Making healthy eating as accessible as possible within the community.
  • April Inniss, EekMD: A series of experiential and immersive learning programs for elementary school age children that teach them how to advocate for their own health and communicate with healthcare providers.
  • Anj Vu Sawyer, Southeast Asian Coalition: Assists Southeast Asian immigrants, refugees and low-income residents to integrate and become contributing citizens while preserving their cultural heritage.
  • Sunny Williams, TinyDocs: Cartoon videos that teach kids about their health in a fun, relatable and easy-to-understand way.

Congratulations to our winners and top qualifiers! We’d also like to give a heartfelt thanks to our sponsors of the event, the Mark and Brenda Moore Foundation and LifeBridge Health. Thank you for supporting unique solutions to better our communities.

Click here to learn more about the EmPOWEREDtoServe Urban Health Accelerator.

Anyone looking to drive solution-based changes in their neighborhood can start by becoming an EmPOWERED to Serve ambassador at empoweredtoserve.org.

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