National Blueprint Awards Mini-Grants to Community Physical Activity Programs

The National Blueprint Office at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has awarded $473,000 to fund 20 community programs and coalitions that help midlife and older adults live active lifestyles.

The Mini-Grant Program is an initiative of the National Blueprint Partners Project that joins more than 50 national organizations with a shared interest in increasing physical activity among Americans age 50+. A key priority of the Blueprint project is to foster local partnerships among community organizations and private sector agencies in the areas of health, environment, transportation, and social services.

“This award serves to promote physical activity interventions for culturally diverse populations at the community level where older adults live, work, and receive health care,” said Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, grant program director and head of the U of I Department of Kinesiology. “The awarded programs were selected for their innovative approaches to address many of the barriers that impede older adults from living physically active lifestyles.”

Many of the funded programs provide targeted interventions for segments of the older adult population, such as minorities, low-income adults, or the frail elderly. Other programs provide an intergenerational component or creative incentives to encourage midlife and older adults to increase their levels of physical activity. The 20 grants were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Arthritis Foundation, Maryland Chapter, Owings Mills, MD. Jan Thompson, executive director; Partners for Active Living.
  • Arthritis Foundation, New York Chapter, New York, NY. Teresa Davis, program manager; Spanish People With Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) Pilot Program.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. Michael Manocchia, health services researcher; Look Up to Fitness.
  • Cabarrus County Department of Aging, Concord, NC. Michael Murphy, executive director; 30 Minutes for Life.
  • Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Tufts University, Boston, MA. Miriam Nelson, project director; The Strong Women Program.
  • Comprehensive Health Education Foundation, Seattle, WA. Gail Tanaka, senior program director; In-Step: Healthy Aging Partnership.
  • East Central Illinois Rural Health Network, Mattoon, IL. Michael O’Brien, executive director; Increasing Physical Activity Among East Central Illinois Adults Age 50 and Over.
  • Fairfield University School of Nursing, Fairfield CT. Noel Appel, director of foundation relations; Step Up to Health: A Residence-Based Physical Activity Program for Older Adults.
  • Greater Lafayette Coalition for Living Well After 50, West Lafayette, IN. Roseann Lyle, chair of steering committee; ACE Initiative: Awareness, Communication & Education.
  • Greater Southern Brooklyn Health Coalition, Brooklyn, NY. Fatima Shama, executive director; Brooklyn Blueprint Program.
  • Harford County Office on Aging, Bel Air, MD. Carol Lienhard, executive director; Harford County Active for Life.
  • Health Research, Inc./ New York State Dept. of Health, Rensselaer, NY. Mari Brick, arthritis program manager; Older Adults Mobility and Socialization Program.
  • Hennepin County, Minneapolis, MN. Sandra Vargas, executive director; Step to it Northside.
  • Ho-Chunk Nation Division of Health, Black River Falls, WI. Hattie Walker, executive director; Ho-Chunk Elder Fitness Project.
  • Palmetto Conservation Foundation, Spartanburg, SC. Kenneth Driggers, executive director; Active Living Interventions for Older Adults in Glenn Springs, SC.
  • Partners in Care Foundation, Burbank, CA. June Simmons, executive director; Training Care Managers to Promote Physical Activity in Home-Dwelling Frail Elders.
  • Paterson YMCA, Paterson, NJ. Larry Gutlerner, executive director; Senior Fitness Program.
  • Supporters of Doelger Senior Center, Daly City, CA. Sue Horst, executive director; Fueling Fitness: A Focus on Food, Knowledge, Exercise, and Fun Across Cultures and Generations.
  • Terwilliger Plaza, Portland, OR. Dee Sellner, executive director; ABLE Bodies: Adventures in Better Living Through Exercise.
  • Texas Cooperative Extension – Dallas County, Dallas, TX. Susan Richey, Dallas County Extension agent; Wellness in the City: Increasing Physical Activity Among Minority Older Adults in Two Urban Areas.

The Mini-Grant Program is supported by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. Additional information about individual grant recipients and the National Blueprint Partners Project is available on the website,