HAC - Equipment-Only Grant Cycles

The vision of Healthy Active Communities in North Carolina is that people of all ages have access to opportunities for physical activity and healthy, local food. To achieve this vision, the BCBSNC Foundation offers both Healthy Eating Equipment Grants and Physical Activity Equipment Grants on an annual basis.

Equipment-only grant cycles provide an opportunity for organizations to access the tools they need to start, enhance or expand their work helping communities achieve the healthy living goals of increased physical activity and access to healthy, local food.

Equipment-only grants are competitive requests for up to $5,000 for one year. The current Physical Activity Equipment Grant is being offered in partnership with the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), College of Design, NC State University.

The aim of the Healthy Active Communities Focus Area is to invest in projects demonstrating the strongest anticipated health gains as well as the greatest intensity and duration of use/interaction to achieve those gains.  Each grant cycle may have differing parameters regarding area of focus, both in terms of organization type and geographic location. Please review the specific parameters for the current grant cycle to determine if this opportunity is a good fit for your agency/organization.

Physical Activity Equipment Grant Cycle

The physical activity grant cycle is now closed. Grant notifications will be made the week of November 10.

The focus for the Fall 2014 Physical Activity Equipment Grant is on projects that result in increased physical activity for young children through changes to the outdoor learning environment and engagement with vegetable and fruit gardening. Eligible applicants are North Carolina community colleges, public universities and those local Smart Start Partnerships linked to the NLI program, Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) and/or to Shape NC. The current POD3 (POD cubed) is aimed at transferring knowledge, building capacity, and extending reach across the professions that could be involved in creating healthy outdoor learning environments (OLEs). Selected sites in institutions of higher education will serve as lab OLEs for students in the relevant fields of early childhood education, culinary arts, food production, landscape design/technology, construction management, horticulture, greenhouse management and/or related built environment fields. Institutions of higher education may partner with childcare centers on campus or in nearby communities.

Selected Smart Start Partnerships will partner with a childcare center to create or expand an existing OLE to increase physical activity and engagement with vegetable and fruit gardening.

Applications must demonstrate the combination of outdoor learning environment improvements, increase in time spent outdoors for all users (children and/or adults), and evidence of the site being used as a tool to engage students in the fields mentioned above in critical hands-on learning. Our investments will be prioritized by applications that can demonstrate a strong correlation between equipment purchased and subsequent increase in physical activity and engagement with fruit and vegetables by all users.

As the focus of this cycle is to help advance the reach of the POD program, applicant organizations must also meet the following criteria:

Community College or Public University as applicant:

  • Relevant programs are early childhood education, culinary arts, food production, landscape design / technology, construction management, horticulture, greenhouse management and/or related built environment and food fields.
  • Proposal should be formally supported by authorized representative of applicant institution (Head of Department, Dean, or financial officer as appropriate).
  • A space should be designated to develop the proposed OLE project and described in the application.
  • Applicant organization will designate a lead instructor to work on the project and to integrate POD content (provided by NLI) in selected curricular activities.
  • A plan for evaluating the impact of the proposed equipment investment on physical activity of all users.

The partner childcare center must:

  • Demonstrate that the proposal is formally supported by an authorized representative of applicant institution (owner, director, or financial officer as appropriate).
  • Designate a lead teacher/staff member to work on the project and serve as liaison with the partner Community College or University. 
  • Designate an outdoor space to develop the proposed OLE project as described in the application.

Smart Start Partnership as applicant:

  • Proposal should be formally supported by authorized representative of applicant institution.
  • Applicant organization will designate a lead Technical Assistant provider (TA) or Quality Enhancement (QE) specialist to liaise with the selected center. 

The selected childcare center must:

  • Demonstrate that the proposal is formally supported by an authorized representative of applicant institution (owner, director, or financial officer as appropriate).
  • Designate a lead teacher/staff member to work on the project and serve as liaison with partner Community College or University. 
  • Designate an outdoor space to develop the proposed OLE project as described in the application.
Equipment 

Examples of equipment that may be purchased as a part of a Physical Activity Equipment Grant include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Trees, shrubs, fruit trees/shrubs, and vines
  • Vegetable seedlings
  • Seeds
  • Perennials plants
  • Lawn turf
  • Timber for construction of pergolas, arbors, small stages, raised planters or other site structures
  • Soil, mulch, wood chips, and natural ground surfaces
  • Solid surface improvements
  • Garden tools, hoses, baskets, gloves, boots, hats, etc. (adult and child size)
  • Portable Play Equipment
  • Wheeled play equipment (trikes, wagons, etc.)
Results

Examples of results we are seeking as a part of a Physical Activity Equipment Grant include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • An outdoor learning environment (OLE) will be created or expanded in the selected childcare center, community college, or public university.
  • The OLE will be used at least twice a semester to deliver curricular activities regarding early childhood physical activity and healthy eating by instructors teaching in diverse fields such as: early childhood education, culinary arts, food production, landscape design / technology, construction management, horticulture, greenhouse management and/or built environment or food related fields (content provided NLI).
  • Children attending selected childcare centers will increase active time spent outdoors during all seasons.
  • Higher education students will show increased physical activity by using the OLE as an active learning environment.
Technical Assistance

Technical assistance provided to grantees will include:

  • Toolkit to guide the development or expansion of the OLE.
  • Online assessment to identify priorities and create an action plan.
  • Higher Education Beginner Module including activities, resources, and assessment for institutions of higher education.
  • Webinar on Designing Outdoor Learning Environments Using Best Practice Indicators.
  • Online, phone consultations.

Nilda Cosco, PhD, Director of Programs, Natural Learning Initiative, will be available to answer questions and to provide additional assistance during the application and implementation phases of the current grant cycle. She can be reached via email at nilda_cosco@ncsu.edu or by phone 919-515-8345.

Key Dates for the 2014 Healthy Eating Equipment Cycle

  • September 2: Grant opens, all grant materials are available online
  • September 4: Noon - Webinar, “Grant Cycle Overview and How to Apply” [slides | recording]
  • October 7: Grant proposals due by 5:00 p.m.
  • Week of November 10: Grant selection announced
  • November 17: New Grantee Webinar at Noon - “Grantee Onboarding: Communications, Results and Reporting”
  • December 2: Noon - Webinar, "Designing Outdoor Learning Environments using Best Practice Indicators"
  • January 12: Noon - Orientation Webinar (for instructors), "Higher Education Beginner Module"

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Physical Activity Equipment grant limited to institutions of higher education (community colleges and public universities) and local Smart Start Partnerships in association with a childcare center?

Yes. This grant is in partnership with the Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University, with the purpose of involving local Smart Start Partnerships linked to Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) and institutions of higher education in the fields of early childhood education, culinary arts, food production, landscape design / technology, construction management, horticulture, greenhouse management and/or built environment or food related fields.

Can a childcare center apply?

No, the lead applicant for this grant must be a community college, a public university, or a local smart start partnership.

Can a higher education instructor apply?

No. The applicant has to be an agency, not an individual.

Can a community college or public university apply even if the planned OLE will be used as a training site for students without children?

Yes. The agency will need to explain how the space will be used to facilitate students’ active learning and application of knowledge to support children’s physical activity and engagement with vegetables and fruit gardening.

Can an institution apply if the space for the OLE is not designated at the moment of the submission?

No. Space for the installation, including dimensions, must be confirmed before the submission date.

Why is this grant cycle in partnership with the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI)? 

NLI is a grantee of the Foundation, and has been working since 2008 to address physical activity in childcare through the program Preventing Obesity by Design (POD). NLI’s research confirms the impact of naturalized outdoor environments to support physical activity of preschool children.

Will physical activity equipment grants always focus on institutions of higher education and early childhood? 

No. The Healthy Active Communities focus area seeks to increase physical activity and healthy eating in schools, faith, and community settings; and over time grant opportunities will reflect that comprehensive vision.

Can a Shape NC Hub Specialist submit a grant on behalf of a center that is part of the Shape NC expansion but not in the same county?

Yes. A Shape NC Hub Specialist may submit through the hub partnership a proposal partnering with a child care center that is not in the same county as the hub partnership.  In this case, the hub specialist would be responsible for all aspects of grant management for this project. Ideally, the local partnership would be the lead applicant for the child care center in its county. We do recognize that all local partnerships may not have the capacity to apply for and/or manage the grant during this time period.

Can a Partnership that has recently joined POD or Shape NC apply even if its staff have not received NLI's OLE training yet?

Yes, those partnerships new to POD or Shape NC may apply. All proposals will be considered based on the partnership’s capacity to support the development of or expansion of an outdoor learning environment in accordance with POD principles, so while eligible, some proposals with less experience may not be as competitive as those partnerships with more experience with these initiatives.

Is it possible to split the Equipment grants between two centers?

Yes, a public university, community college or local partnership may choose to work with up to two local child care centers, but both centers must agree to the requirements of the grant and the total amount the applicant may request is $5000, which would be divided between equipment for the two partner child care centers.

2015 Healthy Eating Equipment Grant Cycle

The next Healthy Eating Equipment Grant application will be available in the spring of 2015.

Examples of equipment that may be purchased as a part of a Healthy Eating Equipment Grant include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Commercial refrigerators, freezers or dishwashers
  • Kitchen equipment (pots, pans, slicers, sectionizers, non-disposable tableware and utensils, etc.)
  • Materials and supplies for a garden, cooking demonstrations, etc.
  • Food transport (vans, trucks, etc.)
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