Health + Wellness

Focusing on prevention and long-term health

The Health + Wellness impact area strives to lower rates of overweight and obesity in Boston and Massachusetts, and to reduce health-care costs through a focus on prevention. 


School-Based Youth Physical Activity

Ensure daily, required, quality physical activity for all students in Greater Boston by funding school-based physical activity programs, expanding partnerships with the Boston Public Schools, and commissioning research on program effectiveness and links to academic performance.

Playworks coach and student talk on playground
Grantee Highlight

Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that offers an on-site direct service program that transforms recess into a safe, fun and inclusive time that gets children physically active, improves school climate and reduces bullying. Playworks serves in 50 public schools in Massachusetts, the majority of which are in the Metro Boston region, with a priority on Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury. Providing 49,880 children with as much as 30-45 minutes of quality physical activity daily, Playworks not only increases students' physical activity, but also has ancillary benefits of increased time for teaching, reduced bullying and enhanced feelings of school safety. 

Early Childhood Obesity Prevention

Improve prenatal and neonatal care standard practices in order to reduce obesity during early childhood. Invest in research-based interventions that bring together health care practitioners, federal grant programs and community health programs in a collective effort to improve health and behavioral outcomes for both mothers and their children.

Grantee Highlight

MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Kraft Center for Community Health (Partners Healthcare System). Building on research suggesting systems-level and community-based interventions that begin early in life may be most effective at combating obesity and addressing disparities, MassGeneral Hospital for Children and The Kraft Center for Community Health created the “The First 1,000 Days” study. This five-year study uses a Collective Impact approach to develop, implement and evaluate an intervention across early-life systems of healthcare, federal grant programs and community health programs in Chelsea, Revere and Dorchester. The goal of this investment is to prevent obesity, promote healthy routines and behaviors and reduce health disparities among vulnerable children and families. 

Social Determinants of Health

Incorporate health into decision making across sectors and policy areas. Support systemic initiatives that take health beyond the confines of hospitals to improve medical outcomes, reduce health disparities and lower health care costs through cross-sector approaches that address the social determinants of health.

Grantee Highlight

Health Leads is a social enterprise that envisions a healthcare system that addresses all patients’ basic resource needs as a standard part of quality care. Health Leads is leading a three-year project to engage Boston-based health centers in a collaborative that will better address patients' social needs using Health Leads’ REACH tool. This technology program allows a health center’s staff to integrate social issues into the health records and health care of patients. The REACH tool will also allow health care centers to better quantify program quality and value, and increase program impact per dollar. Health Leads’ model is being piloted in Greater Boston and has the potential to be scaled and replicated nationally.