Philadelphia social entrepreneurs receive funding to break down health barriers

The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, today announced four North Philadelphia organizations will receive $430,000 in funding from the Association’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund to sustainably address health equity in the Nicetown-Tioga, Sharswood-Stanton and Strawberry Mansion neighborhoods.

Thanks to a $1 million donation by the Andréa W. and Kenneth C. Frazier Family Foundation, the American Heart Association’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund will support local nonprofits and social entrepreneurs working to improve access to healthcare, food and housing, as well as economic empowerment. This is the first set of funds that will be distributed in Philadelphia.

“Through their generous support, the Fraziers are helping to ensure people in North Philadelphia have access to the healthcare they need – from mental health and maternal care to providing transportation to doctors’ appointments,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association. “This support also helps under-invested organizations and social entrepreneurs quickly gain access to the resources they need to make a lasting impact on their communities. These grassroot investment activities help the American Heart Association make significant in-roads to address hypertension, diabetes and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.”

“Health inequity is one of society’s most daunting challenges, and we are pleased to support the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund as it delivers on its mission to foster health equity and economic empowerment,” said Andréa and Ken Frazier. “We are especially pleased that the organizations selected will complement the work of the Frazier Coalition in Philadelphia, which is aimed at connecting at-risk people with the health information and care they need to help prevent stroke, a leading cause of death in our city.”

The first set of fund recipients are organizations led by communities of color and/or woman-led and operate in under-invested neighborhoods. They are:

Maternity Care Coalition (MCC), a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that improves the health and well-being of pregnant women, parenting families and young children in neighborhoods affected by poverty and maternal and infant morbidity/mortality.

Oshun Family Center, a Black woman-led mental health organization that provides racially concordant care to people struggling to cope with life transitions. Oshun provides therapy to individuals, families and groups to address the full range of mental health conditions, with specific expertise in perinatal anxiety disorders and racial trauma.

Ride Health, an immigrant-founded, for-profit transportation platform that contracts directly with health systems, health plans and healthcare organizations to provide a variety of non-emergency transportation services to get patients to and from appointments. In North Philadelphia, a lack of transportation is a major barrier to health services.

Viora Health, an immigrant and woman-led, Philadelphia-based health tech start-up, that engages under-resourced populations to improve their health management at home by mitigating social determinants of health through their patient-facing mobile/text-based solution that creates a personalized program and support resulting in an improved health experience for patients and cost reduction for health plans, health systems and employers.

While significant advances have been made in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment, health results are disparate across economic, racial and ethnic groups. According to the County Health Rankings, only 20% of a person’s overall health is determined by clinical medical care, while the rest is determined by social and economic factors, as well as physical environment. Approximately 50 million people in the United States are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease because they lack the most basic needs — healthy food, clean air and drinking water, quality education, employment and housing.