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Board Approves Incentive Grants for Healthy Communities

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 17, 2012) -- The board of directors for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust on Thursday approved $186,000 in incentive grants as part of the trust’s Healthy Communities Incentive Grant program.

These grants will help municipalities to continue to work on projects that promote physical activity, wellness and overall community health. Communities certified by the Oklahoma Certified Healthy Communities program were eligible to apply for the grants.

The city of Durant will receive a $50,000 grant as part of the program. The Bryan County city achieved the status of “excellence” as part of the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant Program. Noble, located in Cleveland County, also received the “excellence” status and will receive an incentive grant of $25,000.

Durant and Noble were the only two applicants to be awarded at the excellence level. Okmulgee and Idabel were awarded at the merit level. Lawton, Norman, Ardmore, Bartlesville, Shawnee,Yukon, Collinsville, Guthrie, Pryor and Hobart were awarded at the basic level.

The grants are part of a three-year, $2.7 million program to encourage communities to implement health and wellness-oriented ordinances, policies and programs. The incentive grant criteria focus on tobacco and alcohol use prevention; nutrition and physical activity; built environments and transportation; health services and community education and policy changes and community health improvement.

Grants ranging from $50,000 to $2,000 were awarded to 14 cities. These grants were awarded based on population and specific criteria met. All applicants were required to be certified through the Shape Your Future Certified Healthy Community program, a partnership between the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the State Chamber and the State Department of Health. 

“It’s wonderful to see this level of participation in the first year of the program,” said Tracey Strader, TSET executive director. “These communities are enacting policies that are making a difference in people’s lives. City leaders across the state are working to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Some of the local policy changes included a city ordinance to make all city owned and operated properties tobacco free, policies banning the marketing and advertising of tobacco products at city-sponsored events and regulating storefront advertisements.

Winning communities submitted proposals for a variety of projects, including improving local walking trails, sidewalks, build a skate park, expand community garden plots, and provide bike racks on city buses.

 

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working toward shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing researcher, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. For more information visit www.tset.ok.gov.