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Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg announces Social Change Center

Megan Holmes

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The site of the Social Change Center, at 2333 34th Street South.

A Social Change Center is coming to the South Side Community Redevelopment Area. On Friday, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg announced its major investment into the South St. Petersburg Community, with a 10-year lease on a 23,250 square-foot retail space at 2333 34th Street South. The facility will drive the Foundation’s mission: “To end differences in health equity due to social or structural disadvantages, and to improve population health.”

The announcement is the second from the Foundation this week, following on the heels of their first major Foundation-led community initiative to cut the number of new HIV infections by half in the next three years.

The concept of the Social Change Center was developed by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg’s board, said Senior Communications Director Karen Chassin. The board is a cross-sector group of change agents, religious leaders, physicians and educators that include: Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil; Jonathan M. Ellen, M.D., President and CEO and physician-in-chief of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital; Katurah Jenkins-Hall, Ph.D.; Emery M. Ivery, Tampa Bay Area President of the United Way Suncoast and many others.

According to a press release, the facility will not only serve as an office for Foundation staff, but also provide a large incubator-like space for social change organizations and community members to convene, share wisdom and combat inequality.

“The location was hard to find,” said Chassin in an email, “Decades of under investment in South St. Petersburg means there is a dearth of available space that would fit our needs and the community’s needs for this space.”

The Foundation hopes that its investment into South St. Petersburg will serve an engine for further growth in the area. Construction on the space is scheduled to start in November. The project will be led by Wannemacher Jensen, an architecture firm based in St. Petersburg. In the release, the Foundation highlighted its commitment to local investments, and its plans to exclusively use local vendors and suppliers during construction and fully operational phases.

“Nothing happens without investment,” said Randall H. Russell, President and CEO of the Foundation. “The time is ripe to provide resources to fuel the community’s wisdom about social change.

“Persistent, intractable social problems like poverty and discrimination will not disappear without concerted, dedicated and focused efforts.”

Starting July 1, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg will begin accepting questions, suggestions and ideas from the public.

Provide your feedback by emailing socialchangecenter@healthystpete.foundation. Leave a voicemail at 727.440.7982. Or leave a comment at healthystpete.foundation/socialchangecenter

 

 

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