Invest Health is an initiative of Reinvestment Fund in partnership and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that began as a forum for 50 cities to define community needs and investment challenges, devise solutions, and align investment capital, other resources and policies to address the social determinants of health.
The initiative provided a starting point for cross-sector leaders in small to mid-size cities across the country to strategize and align with community development finance experts, local, regional and national philanthropic networks, and public funding streams to build healthier, more equitable communities. Over the course of the initiative, Reinvestment Fund supported Invest Health city teams as they developed strategies for improving resident well-being in neighborhoods facing the biggest barriers to health and opportunity. Teams focused on one or more of the key social determinants of health (e.g., housing, safety and resilience, transportation, education and employment, and local food systems and production) and worked to address these issues through built environment projects, such as affordable housing, development of community centers, homeless shelters, or medical centers; established healthy food retail; and improved parks, sidewalks, public lighting, and other features to facilitate safe recreation and walkability. Throughout this work, city teams learned how to use data to drive decisions, community trust-building and authentic engagement, the importance of cross-sector collaboration, and the need to prioritize health and equity in all facets of their work.