Grant Proposals for Optimizing the Health of our Children

December 23, 2022


As we continue to work through strategic planning, our efforts to produce meaningful change in the health of our community persist. Extensive research and input from community stakeholders has indicated the overwhelming potential for improving health outcomes in our community by focusing efforts on the very beginning stages of development.

Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child states “The effects of significant adversity on brain development— and therefore on early learning, social and emotional development, and kindergarten readiness—are well documented. This knowledge has influenced early childhood policy objectives, program design, and allocation of resources for decades. But the frontiers of science now point to the need for an expanded mindset that views investment in the early years as a necessary priority for strengthening the foundations of both health and learning by addressing the common origins of disparities in each. The good news is that the very things all children need to improve school readiness— responsive relationships, core adaptive skills, reduced sources of stress, and appropriate nutrition—are the same as those that are needed to support improved lifelong health.”

With all of this in mind, we have elected to focus our next round of funding on optimizing the health of the children in our community. The attached Request for Proposals seeks new initiatives that specifically address the health disparities of local children (ages 0-18). We believe in your potential to create a healthier reality.


The most recent County Health Rankings report ranks Mercer County at 57th (of 67 counties in the state) in overall health outcomes. This ranking, in addition to Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) conducted by The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the four major healthcare systems serving Mercer County, PA (UPMC, AHN, SCHC, PHN) identify the county’s leading health concerns as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

On the surface, these health concerns seem unrelated, but evidence shows a compelling correlation between these negative health outcomes and the effects of excessive adversity on the human body and its biological systems. Research suggests that both adults and developing children who face significant hardships in their environment and/or experiences are at higher risk for developing stress-associated diseases, like those mentioned above.

The Buhl Regional Health Foundation issues this Request for Proposals to our community stakeholders, seeking innovative initiatives that propose to improve health outcomes in our community by addressing the inequities, health disparities, and obstacles that children and their families face. Health is directly and positively impacted when communities and systems adequately support families and children during the early childhood stages of development.


BRHF will award grants in 2023 for implementation of initiatives that strive to increase children’s access to optimal health and well-being and/or improve their access to quality, holistic healthcare.


Organizations are invited to apply for funding to launch a new initiative focused on optimizing the health of the children in Mercer County, PA through collaboration and innovation.


To qualify as a grant recipient, your organization’s initiative must meet the following requirements:

  • Initiative must be new to the community.
  • Initiative must provide services and/or outreach to children in the community aged 18 and under.
  • Initiative must intentionally address health disparities and/or inequities.
  • Initiative’s goals must be clearly identified and methods for measurement of goals and objectives should be clearly described.
  • Initiative must include a plan for collaborating across sectors in our community and/or establishing strong community partnerships.


The recipient(s) of the OHOC grant will:

  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation in the community.
  • Predominantly serve children with demonstrated health disparities or unmet health needs.
  • Actively develop strong, cross-sector community partnerships.
  • Address children’s health or well-being and/or increase their access to necessary health services.
  • Have a clear plan for sustainability beyond the grant period.


Eligible applicants will meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be classified as tax-exempt by the IRS, typically 501( c) (3) status, government agency or utilizing a fiscal agent who is clearly identified in the application.
  • Faith-based organizations must welcome all faiths and participation in religious activity participation must be clearly defined as optional.
  • Applicant’s efforts must serve individuals, aged 18 and under, who reside in Mercer County, PA.
  • Previous grantees of BRHF must have fulfilled the required 18 month waiting period from their last grant award and all previous grants must be closed (all grant reporting completed and any unused funds returned).


This grant may not be used to fund the following:

  • Supplemental funding to previously awarded grants or existing programs.
  • Direct payment to a pediatric care provider.
  • Research projects, such as clinical trials.
  • Health fairs or other one-time events.
  • Additional expenses may be disallowed at the discretion of BRHF

Application Process

Responses to this RFP are no longer being accepted. Proposals are scored based on creativity and innovation, significance of impact on the community’s health needs, effective collaboration efforts or goals, and actionability.


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