The CCTS One Great Community (OGC) board hosted a special reception to honor its six 2017 Community Health Innovation Award (CHIA) grantees. A total of $85,000 was distributed to enable these grantees to advance projects that address health concerns in the Birmingham community. The CCTS partnered with several units across the Hub to support this unique program.

All grantees participated in a rigorous application process that included attending a mandatory Innovation Workshop to refine their project ideas, submission of a full proposal that was formally reviewed against the CHIA criteria, access to mentorship, and a final presentation of their project before a panel of four judges.

CHIA is envisioned as a way for participants to think boldly and creatively about solutions to “on the ground” health challenges communities face, to work in partnership with some of the best minds in our area, and to partner with local organizations to complete a project. A list of community health concerns, based on the results of an OGC neighborhood survey, guided the selection process for the projects below.


  1. CHIA 2017 Reception v2Project Possible, Inc. – Provides nutrition education, healthy food samples, and cooking demonstrations to residents in Southwest Birmingham community. Academic collaborators through the UAB School of Public Health and Department of Nutrition Science will provide a minimum of two interns a semester to support data collection, evaluation development and analysis, and other program development efforts. This project addresses community concern about obesity/overweight.
  2. At Home Foundation, Inc. – Focused on single parents and low-income women learning life skills such as basic home repair. Will help build mental and emotional strength, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and independence, all of which are foundational for good health.
  3. Westminster Presbyterian Church – Provides a free multi-arts program for elementary school children with emphasis on voice, speech, and acting. The program will be conducted by renowned playwright, Broadway, film, and television actor, composer/arranger, music instructor, and Westminster’s Director of Music Ms. Annie Joe Edwards. The Westminster Community Arts Program will meet all the standards for youth programs as required by the State of Alabama. Cultural activities build literacy and math skills and support the development of critical thinking and problem solving. This project addresses community concerns with reducing high school dropout rates and improving health literacy.
  4. Growing Kings, Inc. – Develops positive relationships between youth (aged 15-24) and law enforcement in housing communities across Birmingham. Seeks to achieve the following: (1) Improve youth’s general attitudes toward police as well as their feelings about their community; (2) Improve police officers’ general attitude toward youth as well as their perceived impact on youth through their police role; (3) Reduce the number of violent occurrences within the target participant demographic for each participating housing community; (4) Decrease the number of reported youth arrests in each housing community, and; (5) Improve participant behavior and decision making. This project addresses community concerns with crime, a social determinant of health with far-reaching negative mental and physical health effects.
  5. Community Investment Network – Project focused on a community-building plan that emphasizes philanthropy by exposing students to “giving circles” as innovative way to address issues in and around their school’s campus. Project will support the launch and strengthening of Giving Circles as a way of redefining and reframing philanthropy so that it is more racially inclusive, democratic, and accessible to people of all classes. Students from Lawson State Community College, Jefferson State, Community College, Miles College, Birmingham-Southern College, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham are eligible to participate. This project will help raise awareness of all community health concerns and increase the volunteer base available to help address them.
  6. Real Life Poets – An apprenticeship program focused on using spoken word and the arts to address mental health, workforce empowerment, and community involvement. Real Life Poets (RLP) creates a results-driven and empowering job-training and mentoring community hub for teen apprentices in the Eastlake Neighborhood of Birmingham. Cultural activities have been shown effective in lowering high school dropout and teen pregnancy rates, addressing two key community health concerns.