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Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environments

Grants to Tennessee Nonprofits, Agencies, and NGOs to
Improve Public Areas to Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Tennessee Department of Health (TDH)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

01/19/18 2:00 PM CT


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Grants of up to $85,000 to Tennessee nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations for community development projects that promote healthy lifestyles. LOIs are due November 16. Funding is available for the planning, development, implementation, and assessment of sustainable plans, projects, and programs that increase access to safe, tobacco-free, and publicly accessible places offering opportunities for physical activity for a diverse group of users, including those who live, visit, work, play, worship, and learn in the community.

This Request for Application (RFA) is designed to improve individual and community health outcomes by supporting local communities at varying stages of capacity and with varying levels of resources to enhance the built environment of public spaces, and by enabling shared learning among leaders and communities across the state. By enhancing built environments, communities will not only provide opportunities for safe physical activity, but will also enhance the economic strength of the community by providing amenities that are valued by residents and businesses.

By initiating and sustaining programming which supports an active lifestyle, as well as creating or enhancing places where physical activity can occur, TDH strives to support communities to instill the habit, love, confidence and lifelong joy in the unique physical abilities of each individual. Meanwhile, communities which provide opportunities for social and community engagement in environments that encourage physical activity also enhance the attractiveness, pride and economic strength of the community by providing opportunities and amenities that are valued by residents, businesses and visitors.

The intent of the funds is to support local communities where partners collaborate to leverage and invest resources for healthy and active built environments, including communities in early stages of planning, designing or building of infrastructure such as parks, gardens, playgrounds, trails, greenways, bicycle or pedestrian paths, as well as communities where enhancements to existing infrastructure, such as programming and promotion, may be needed to expand use of that infrastructure or to evaluate impact on health.

Desired Outcomes:

Despite a base of evidence which demonstrates the positive economic and health-related benefits when built environments encourage and support safe physical activity, a survey of Tennessee communities reveals that few are considering health when planning for changes to the built environment. The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) wishes to encourage the consideration of health impact during the decision-making process, and is pursuing strategies to promote, protect and improve population health through changes in our built environment, including:

-Establish and support internal and external mechanisms for collaboration and shared decision-making;
-Promote “health in all policies,” particularly built environment initiatives;
-Remove barriers to access and opportunities for physical activity as part of publicly-accessible facilities such as parks, greenways, walking tracks, and sidewalk/bikeways for transportation; additionally, address transportation barriers which limit access to healthy foods and health and wellness services;
-Identify and leverage opportunities to incorporate healthier design into planning of programs and infrastructure;
-Expand and share resources to support local communities and diverse populations;
-Build relationships by working with and for local communities; and
-Engage individuals and/or partners with communications expertise to increase awareness of needs, resources, successes and impact.

Grant Objectives:

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is seeking applications from individual governmental or non-governmental applicants for Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environments. Regional or statewide collaborative proposals will be considered to be comprised of each county participating in the proposal, with proportionate budgets. There is no requirement for matching resources, but proposals which include commitments of cash or in-kind services, the leveraging of concurrent grants, or additional resources that will sustain the effort beyond the period of performance for this award are encouraged.

Use of Funds:


All applications must include an evaluation framework (logic model, proposed metrics and data collection methods) and a completed evaluation included in the final report. The Office of Primary Prevention within TDH can assist with proposed evaluation activities which may include qualitative and quantitative data collection. Funds for the Evaluation are intended to assist with staff and data collection for the evaluation component, although application for these funds is not a requirement in order to conduct and complete the evaluation.

Phase A – Convening:

Identifying, convening and / or engaging with partners, elected officials and stakeholders , particularly in communities where health has not a topic of consideration in built environment decision- making. Application should explain how this grant will help to build new partnerships or to strengthen existing partnerships.

Participants in this phase must include local health leaders (including health council and county health director), as well as members of the targeted communities and populations, including vulnerable and underserved populations, who many benefit from built environment improvements to increase physical activity.

Activities during the convening phase should result in documented collaboration with stakeholders and community representatives reflecting the demographic composition of the targeted community, to be incorporated into community needs assessments, feasibility studies, market research, planning and design documents, etc. Phase A projects should include a plan for tracking and reporting levels of engagement among stakeholders and the public, including identifying any important groups who may not be involved and why.

The roster of potential partners includes the city or county council or board of aldermen, community development block grant board, development district, elected official(s), Healthier TN Communities (if any), and may include local planning and parks/rec departments, law enforcement, non-profits, realtors, members of the Urban Land Institute, county/city roadways departments, citizens groups, non-profits focused on health or neighborhood services, insurance carriers, civic groups, local system, private land developers, universities/colleges, TVA, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Rural Planning Organizations, UT Agricultural Extension, TDOT, TDEC , tourism, and arts and housing professionals.

Phase B – Assessment and Planning:

Applicants applying for planning funding must create plans that are anticipated to lead to initial construction in the short term (3 years or less) or medium term (3-6 years or less) from date of completed plan. Applicants must also list potential funding sources for construction, and demonstrate that any planning activities are done in compliance with any and all requirements of agencies which require completed planning documents to be eligible to apply for construction funding.

A needs assessment includes gaps where these types of facilities do not exist in a community and a detailed analysis of the populations in greatest need. All analyses should be shared with the general public and also with members of the communities that will be impacted most by the project, to ensure consensus and alignment with community priorities. Assessment could include a density analysis of:

a. parks and other open spaces;
b. public schools, community centers, other public buildings with indoor and/or outdoors facilities that may be used for physical activity;
c. sidewalks, bikeways and greenways;
d. playgrounds and natural playscapes;
e. other community amenities that are or could be made accessible to the public for physical activity;

Plans and policies typically developed and/or considered during this phase include the following:
a. Small-area plans (example: downtown redevelopment plan focusing on walkable communities);
b. Comprehensive Plan (with health focus);
c. Greenway Master Plan;
d. Parks Master Plan;
e. Sidewalk Master Plan;
f. Bikeway Master Plan;
g. Multimodal Transportation Plan;
h. Complete Street Policies;
i. Small area or specific plan focus in increasing physical activity; and
j. Arts placemaking plans that may encourage physical activity through the influence of public art.

An Active Living/Physical Activity Policy Assessment may include zoning codes, subdivision regulations, comprehensive plans, neighborhood or subarea plans, specific plans or planned unit developments, school siting policies, joint use agreements, bicycle and/or pedestrian plans, greenways and/or parks master plans. Walking audits are strongly encouraged. Resources available through the TDH Office of Primary Prevention and other sources include:

a. The TN Department of Health Tennessee Livable Community Checklist;
b. The Rural Active Living Assessment Tool Codebook and Scoring;
c. Rural Active Living Perceived Environmental Support Scale (RALPESS);
d. Promoting Active Living in Rural Communities Research Brief;
e. Urban Land Institute – Building Healthy Places Toolkit;
f. CDC – Healthy Community Design Checklist;
g. CDC Transportation and Health Tool; and
h. AARP – Livability Index.

Activities during the Assessment & Planning phase could include site visits to projects in other successful communities, review, update and /or alignment with existing plans, development of a project plan containing objectives and activities, timeline, resources needed, and roles of partners in the project/s. Plans may advance policy change or design infrastructure projects such as greenways, walking tracks, sidewalks, bikeways and other creative place-making initiatives such as public art in parks, schools, transit stops, downtowns, blueways and other locations to enhance a sense of place and to encourage physical activity. All plans should include measurable objectives and proposed timelines, as well as a list of potential funding sources including agency, eligibility requirements and application dates.

All plans should document any prior steps taken by the community, such as committees or other convenings demonstrating the community’s interest and support for built environment projects to increase physical activity.

Phase C - Programming:

Funding may be used to develop and promote programming and/or educational activities which expand and encourage use of existing infrastructure for physical activity among a diverse audience of users. Example activities include run or bicycle clubs and other types of recurring programming activities (no one-time events) that support use of existing, publicly available built environments for physical activity. For example, sustainable activities such as “Walk with a Doc” or “Walk with a Mayor” programs could be initiated and marketed to a wider audience; Run Clubs or similar non-competitive programming for children could be conducted in supervised and supportive environments to foster a love of physical activity; promoting “Exercise as Medicine” to healthcare providers and their patients through such initiatives as the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Healthy Parks Healthy Person program; development and dissemination of promotional materials and maps; and traditional and social media communication strategies to inform both residents and visitors of local built environment opportunities for physical activities and to encourage use of the facilities for community walks, 5k runs, organized bike rides, etc. Phase C proposals must focus on on-going programs (not one-time events), include mechanisms for collecting and reporting data on volume and types of users, a plan for sustainability after the grant is complete, as well as changes in awareness, attitudes, participation, and health status.

Phase D – Infrastructure Design / Construction:

Funding through this grant may be used alone or as state-level matching funds to help leverage additional funding for publicly-accessible infrastructure such as parks, greenways, sidewalks, bikeways, playgrounds and walking tracks, which provide opportunity for physical activity for a community or population which currently has limited access to these types of facilities. The grant funds may also be used to design or build amenities such as signage, benches, water fountains, restrooms or other infrastructure that increases use of existing facilities. Playgrounds, active transportation rest areas (benches, shade, water access, bicycle repair stations), greenways, trailhead signs, sidewalks, bikeways, crosswalks, pedestrian/bicycle traffic signs/signals are eligible. All proposals must include information about the plan for maintenance and frequency of maintenance of the facility, including the responsible party and documentation of appropriate funding and other resources.

Projects on public school facilities are eligible for funding, provided that the community has a joint-use agreement for public access to the facilities during non-school hours (applicant must provide joint-use agreement documentation before grant completion). Funds may be used for project management and staff for engineering, environmental, right-of-way, construction documents, typical roadway section plans and construction- related cost estimates. Proposals must include evaluation of current and projected usage by underserved groups and/or at-risk populations groups, as well as a plan to measure, sustain and increase the current level and types of use through the proposed project. The Office of Primary Prevention can work with grantees on potential metrics to measure the impact of the project.

All infrastructure projects must include the decision-making and community engagement processes documenting community interest in the project, which may include committees, reports, master plans, etc.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182400

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The total amount of a single application should not exceed $85,000 in total for proposed activities, and each phase should not exceed the costs described below:

-Evaluation: Maximum $5,000
-Phase A - Convening: Maximum $2,000
-Phase B - Assessment and Planning: Maximum $50,000
-Phase C - Programming: Maximum $10,000
-Phase D - Infrastructure Design / Construction: Maximum $80,000

Term of Contract:

Phase A - Convening activities must be completed within 12 months.

Phase B - Assessment and Planning activities must be completed within 18 months. Applicants applying for planning funding must create plans that are anticipated to lead to initial construction in the short term (3 years or less) or medium term (3-6 years or less) from date of completed plan.

Phase C - Programming activities must be completed within 12 months.

Phase D - Infrastructure Design / Construction activities must be completed within 24 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

TDH wishes to support local governments, not-for-profit, and non-governmental organizations.

Funds may not be used for:
1. Subsidies for individuals (for healthcare services, facility usage fees, etc.);
2. Lobbying activities;
3. Replacement of funds currently being used for existing services.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The application teleconference is scheduled for December 12, 2017 at 2:00 PM.

Teleconference can be accessed using the following:
Phone Number: 888-757-2790
Participant Passcode: 766173

Pre-Application Information:

The initial requirement for an Access to Health grant award will be to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI).

A team of evaluators will review all Letters of Intent and will issue Invitations to Apply to those projects which appear to fulfill the needs of the State for Access to Health.

Those who receive an Invitation to Apply will complete a full Application.

Schedule of Events:
1. RFA Issued: October 2, 2017
2. Letter of Intent Teleconference: 2:00 PM (Central) on October 12, 2017
3. Written “Questions & Comments” Deadline 2:00 PM (Central) on October 16, 2017
4. State Response to Written “Questions & Comments”: October 20, 2017
5. Letter of Intent Deadline: 2:00 PM (Central) November 16, 2017
6. State Issues Invitations to Apply: December 1, 2017
7. Application Teleconference: 2:00 PM (Central) on December 12, 2017
8. Written “Questions & Comments” Deadline: 2:00 PM (Central) on December 15, 2017
9. State Response to Written “Questions & Comments”: December 22, 2017
10. Deadline for Applications: 2:00 PM (Central) on January 19, 2018
11. Evaluation Notice Released 2:00 PM (Central) on February 2, 2018
12. Effective Start Date of Contract: April 1, 2018

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Teleconferences can be accessed using the following:
Phone Number: 888-757-2790
Participant Passcode: 766173

Upload application materials here:

Melissa Painter, Competitive Procurement Coordinator
Phone: (615) 741-0285
Fax: (615) 741-3840

Service Procurement Program Division of Administrative Services
Andrew Johnson Tower, 5th Floor
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

Funding or Pin Number:

RFA # 34301-17618

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Tennessee