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Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Offers Incentive Grants for Cities Recognized as Certified Healthy Communities

OKLAHOMA CITY (September 13, 2011) – The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), will be offering Healthy Communities Incentive Grants to cities that receive certification through the newly created Certified Healthy Communities (CHC) program which is administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

Communities receiving CHC certification will be eligible to apply to TSET for the Healthy Communities Incentive Grants. Certain criteria from within the CHC program have been selected as Incentive Grants requirements, placing a priority on higher impact policies and actions to improve community health. The CHC and Incentive Grants criteria address such issues as tobacco and alcohol use prevention, improving nutrition and physical activity, addressing built environments and transportation, health services, and community education.

The Healthy Communities Incentive Grants will provide opportunities for cities to receive monetary awards based on the size of the community, the level of certification achieved, and the incentive criteria met (basic incentive, merit incentive or excellence incentive). Awards for the excellence incentive level can range from $10,000 for the rural cities (those under 4,300 populations) up to to $225,000 for the largest cities (Oklahoma City and Tulsa).

While the funding is available, these incentive grants will be provided to communities to enhance wellness activities in their areas of poorest health. Cities awarded grant funding must apply the funds to advancing any of the CHC criteria they believe best addresses the needs and opportunities in their communities.

”We are excited to have the opportunity to help advance the visionary action of our legislature in developing the Certified Healthy Communities program,” said Tracey Strader, executive director of TSET. “The impact of these incentive grants will be to create healthier environments where we live, work and play.”

The Healthy Communities Incentive Grants criteria may be found on the TSET website here. Grant application guidelines will be available by January 1, 2012, and applications will be accepted between January 1st and February 29th with an anticipated date of award of July 1, 2012.

Certification from the CHC program is a prerequisite for making application for an Incentive grant; however, cities may apply for and receive certification from the CHC program without applying for or receiving an Incentive grant. For more information about the Incentive Grants or to receive informational updates, contact Connie Befort, Program Manager, Healthy Communities Incentive Grants at: connieb@tset.ok.gov or 405-521-4895.

Information on applying to become a Certified Healthy Community may be found at www.okturningpoint.org

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards 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 research, 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.