New Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Report Examines Impact from Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund’s Five-Year, $15M Healthy Food & Community Change Initiative

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Report Examines Impact from Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund’s Five-Year, $15M Healthy Food & Community Change Initiative

Following intensive, 12-month review, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors(RPA) today reports that the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund’s Healthy Food & Community Change (HFCC) initiative improved people’s access to healthy food, addressed health and access disparities, provided nutrition education, generated food-sector jobs and successfully leveraged food and food policy tools to lift and strengthen low-income, underserved communities.

The Illumination Fund’s $15M, five-year commitment focused on two key strategies: deep, neighborhood-based initiatives with a holistic approach to community change, and public-private partnerships that forged collaborations across sectors so that grants and policies would align, with broader impact. Leveraging these strategies, the HFCC initiative focused on addressing three main issue-areas: place-based strategies and resident engagement; food as a strategy to provide job opportunities and food insecurity as a health issue. “The Healthy Food & Community Change initiative has been catalytic for organizations and agencies citywide,” says Melissa Berman, CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the report’s author. “The Illumination Fund was the first foundation supporter for several major initiatives, providing early funding that enabled promising programs to come to fruition and others to expand
reach and build capacity.”

As part of its in-depth analysis, RPA reviewed grantee reports and interviewed more than 25 organizational leaders, academics and policymakers to assess the impact of the HFCC initiative and gain insights about the broader field in New York City and nationally. RPA’s overall conclusion: the HFCC initiative improved access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods; stimulated greater awareness of healthy choices; established collaborations and partnerships across sectors, including community organizations, health care facilities, local businesses, schools, nonprofits and public agencies; helped cultivate future leaders in the healthy food space; and advanced knowledge and practices, providing value to New York and cities throughout the US. “Our mission is to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers,” says Laurie M. Tisch, president, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund...