KC Parks was recently awarded $115,000 from the Greater Kansas City Health Care Foundation to support our efforts in “Life X,” a place-based approach to mobilizing residents living in zip codes 64126, 64127, 64128, 64129, 64130, and 64132. In these zip codes, 94% of residents live below the Federal Poverty Level and life expectancy rates are on average 14.9 years less than other areas of the city. Led by Kansas City, Missouri Parks & Recreation and the Public Health Department, this pilot program engages 200 community members in the conversation to build a healthier Kansas City where zip codes no longer dictate life expectancy.
Too often in city government, residents are not given the opportunity to authentically participate in conversations and decisions that have the potential to improve the health and well-being of their community. This issue is even more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods, where social distrust is high and knowledge and awareness of how to affect community change are much lower than more affluent neighborhoods. Making health equity a shared vision among multiple stakeholders and building the capacity of communities is a crucial step to community-driven solutions that reduce health inequities in Kansas City. The Life X pilot program seeks to connect the wisdom, history, insights, and knowledge of residents with the resources of local government to empower individuals as advocates and catalysts for positive change in their community.
Through community engagement and resident leadership development, cross-sector collaboration, and organizational capacity-building, Life X promotes community-based solutions that will reduce social inequities and lead to healthier communities. The value of this project is not just a return on investment in dollars, but in years of life gained.
Funding from the Health Care Foundation Supports:
- Growth of the existing Life X cohort participants from 70 to 200
- Inclusive community engagement efforts for Life X participants that aim to foster a socially cohesive community and build social capital
- Fitness passes for all Life X participants, increasing equitable access to fitness centers and healthy lifestyle education that will ultimately improve health outcomes
- Resident leadership development and community organizing efforts that will begin to equip individuals to take action on policies that improve the overall well-being of their communities
- Organizational capacity and system building to accelerate engagement of residents as partners, ultimately leading to local improvements and decisions made through a social equity lens