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Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete announces $1.2 million grant toward Grow Smarter Strategy

Megan Holmes



The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg announced Thursday a multi-year grant totaling $1.2 million will go toward the Grow Smarter Strategy, a partnership between the City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Grow Smarter is a multi-sector strategy for highlight sectors of economic opportunity and growth in St. Petersburg.

Developed in 2014, the Grow Smarter focuses on seven strategic focus areas and five target job sectors, and its progress is steered by seven community-led work groups formed by business leaders and citizens. The Grow Smarter Strategy has lead to the creation of the St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation (St. Pete EDC)

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is laser-focused on the issue of health equity, and recognizes the impact of economic development initiatives on income, which in turn affects health and the prevalence of disease. Unlike more traditional economic development efforts, Grow Smarter prioritizes inclusion and equity. One of the main actions points in the strategy & implementation phases is to “Proceed with holistic strategies to reduce poverty in South St. Petersburg (1.3).”

“When economic development efforts are equitable, communities are healthier and more prosperous overall,” said Randall H. Russell, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg in a press release.

“Health is not just access to a physician, it is the ability to live one’s life with access to education, housing, mental/physical health services, and more,” Russell continued. “By investing in people who are currently disconnected from opportunity, Grow Smarter will contribute to overall improved health outcomes in our community.”

Grow Smarter is closely tied to the efforts of many other initiatives focused on eliminating poverty and increasing equity in South St. Petersburg, including the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area (CRA), The New Deal and The 2020 Plan.

“The Grow Smarter Strategy is a transformational opportunity for our businesses, non-profits, government and citizens to collectively come together with a shared focus on inclusive prosperity that will have a lasting impact on St. Petersburg’s culture and future,” said Grow Smarter Chair Ryan Griffin in a press release. “The impact of this new culture will keep the future for our Sunshine City very bright for years to come.”

The grant funding provided by the Foundation will bring improvements to the St. Pete EDC and other efforts of the Grow Smarter Strategy. It will also provide the opportunity for Grow Smarter to bring in PolicyLink, a nationally recognized equitable economic development consulting firm.

This announcement comes just ahead of the 2018 Grow Smarter Summit, to be held Dec. 7 at Pinellas Technical College. To register for the Grow Smarter Summit, click here.


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