BUILD Health Challenge

The BUILD Health Challenge puts multi-sector community partnerships at the center of improving health for everyone.


The BUILD Health Challenge is a national award program that supports communities in taking innovative and collaborative approaches toward achieving health equity. Designed to strengthen partnerships between community‐based organizations, hospitals and health systems, local health departments, and others, the BUILD Health Challenge awards support collaborations that are ready to put Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, Data‐Driven plans into action. These principles provide a dynamic framework for communities seeking to tackle the underlying social, physical, and economic factors affecting health.

Since the first round of BUILD Health Challenge funding in 2015, dozens of communities in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia have been jointly funded by a coalition of foundations – large and small – from across the country.

BUILD Health Challenge Funding Partners (as of May 2020):

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
  • BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation
  • Blue Shield of California Foundation
  • Communities Foundation of Texas
  • The de Beaumont Foundation
  • The Episcopal Health Foundation
  • Kresge Foundation
  • New Jersey Health Initiatives
  • Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • W. K. Kellogg Foundation

“We can’t improve health by focusing on health care alone. We need collaborative, upstream approaches that address the root causes of health disparities to improve health. The BUILD Health Challenge puts this approach into action, and we are inspired to be part of this movement.”

Our Involvement

We joined the BUILD Health Challenge funders collaborative in 2016, with a three-year commitment to support one BUILD community in the state. In 2019, we reinvested into the collaborative for an additional three years in support of two North Carolina communities.

BUILD in North Carolina

Since 2016, three North Carolina communities have been represented in BUILD Health Challenge cohorts.


Collaborative Cottage Grove (Greensboro)

BUILD 2.0 and 3.0 Awardee

Collaborative Cottage Grove – which is also supported via Community-Centered Health – is addressing childhood asthma exacerbated by poor environmental and housing conditions. The partnership is advocating for city-level policy changes to combat poor housing conditions by working with community members, policymakers, and organizational partners.

Collaborative Cottage Grove was initially supported by the BUILD Health Challenge as a 2.0 awardee, successfully fostering involvement in local housing and environmental conditions from Cone Health System, the local health department, and city government. The collaborative is currently working on a healthy homes referral system with Cone Health, and was featured by PBS NewsHour for their innovative work at the intersection of health and housing. This work, and successful partnerships, led BUILD to continue to invest in Collaborative Cottage Grove as part of their 3.0 round of funding.

Healthier Highland (Gastonia)

BUILD 3.0 Awardee

Healthier Highland – also supported via Community-Centered Health – is addressing the root causes of poor health in Highland by working with families to increase fresh food access, create a neighborhood enterprise to increase employment opportunities, and build the capacity of ­­­­­­­­­community members to advocate for and sustain change. With the BUILD award, Healthier Highland hired a neighborhood resident as a community health worker (the first in its 25-year history), holds free healthy eating workshops, distributes free produce to patients, and leads physical activity groups.

Renaissance West (Charlotte)

BUILD 2.0 Awardee

Renaissance West sought to improve upward mobility in their community by addressing disparities, enhancing local community capacity, and improving access to preventative health services. With the BUILD award, Renaissance West deployed life navigators to assist residents in a low‐income housing community, engaged 70 families, and made more than 200 community referrals as of June 2020. The collaborative also successfully secured a new bus route in West Charlotte.