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TSET Board of Directors Approve Incentive Grants for 12 Oklahoma Communities

Walking tracks, sidewalks and playground equipment among projects

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 19, 2019) — The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors approved Healthy Communities Incentive Grants today for a dozen Oklahoma municipalities. The grants will fund health-promoting projects such as sidewalks, walking tracks and playground equipment for parks.

“Communities have an important role to play in encouraging health and helping to make the healthy choices the easy choices,” said TSET Board Chair Dr. Bruce Benjamin. “Ensuring that citizens have access to nutritious food and safe and convenient spaces for physical activity are vital steps to improving the health of Oklahomans and creating a state that ranks among the top 10 in health outcomes.”

To be eligible to apply for an incentive grant, communities must implement tobacco-free policies and other health-promoting strategies. The incentive grant program complements TSET’s other initiatives that seek to reduce the leading causes of death in Oklahoma – cancer and cardiovascular disease – by empowering Oklahomans to make healthier choices to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.

Grant awards for the TSET Healthy Communities Incentive Program are based on population size and the types of strategies implemented. These strategies include adopting ordinances that make all city-owned and operated property tobacco-free and vapor-free, implementing street and zoning policies that improve walkability and promoting increased access to fresh healthy foods through community gardens and farmer markets.

Projects funded by incentive grants must seek to improve health. Once grant funds are awarded, local entities decide how the grants will be spent. TSET requires that the projects promote health. Communities have used grant funds to build walking trails, community park improvements and enhancements, splash pads, community gardens and farmers markets.

Among the grants approved on Tuesday, the communities of Madill, Carney, Davenport, Newkirk, Mill Creek and Jay plan to build sidewalks or walking trails. Konawa, Caney, Talihina, Boley and Meeker plan new playground equipment and other park improvements. The town of Dustin plans new pavilions at a park and the farmers’ market.

“We are proud to recognize these communities for their efforts to improve the health of their citizens,” said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee. “The Healthy Community Incentive Grants are an important tool for building local partnerships across the state and offering communities the resources they need to improve the quality of life of residents. We know that change begins at the local level, so these grants empower local officials to make the improvements that will have the greatest impact on the local community.”

The community grants awarded on Tuesday were:

  • City of Caney $36,000
  • City of Jay $36,000
  • City of Konawa $36,000
  • City of Madill $36,000
  • City of Newkirk $22,000
  • City of Talihina $36,000
  • Town of Boley $16,000
  • Town of Carney $22,000
  • Town of Davenport $22,000
  • Town of Dustin $22,000
  • Town of Meeker $22,000 
  • Town of Mill Creek $36,000

A second round of TSET Healthy Community Incentive Grants will open for applications on Dec. 2, 2019. Visit TSET.ok.gov for more information.                    

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations 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, cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and 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. To learn more go to: www.ok.gov/tset.