Awarded for ‘innovative efforts to create a thriving community’

Addison is one of 10 winners of the 2020-2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The prize honors and elevates communities for working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity.

Addison is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Addison’s award-winning efforts include:

● Aligning key organizations and community efforts through Addison Resources Connect;

● Reimagining the role of the Addison Public Library;

● Addressing gaps in support for families and young children through the Addison Early Childhood Collaborative;

● Building youth leadership and equity in DuPage High School District 88; and

● Creating pipelines for skilled workers through the Workforce Development Committee and Project Hire-Ed.

“Embracing a Culture of Health in any community requires a commitment to inclusion, to a shared vision, to teamwork, and to caring for the needs of all its residents,” said Rich Veenstra, mayor of the Village of Addison. “It redefines the true meaning of ‘community,’ and that is our focus here in Addison. Receiving this prize is a tremendous recognition of those efforts.” 

“The 2020-2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners are striving to make good health and well-being achievable for all their residents,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of RWJF. “They understand the clear connection between the opportunity for health and education, jobs, and housing. They are leaning into community-led solutions that break down barriers caused by structural racism and other forms of discrimination.”

Addison will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of prize-winning communities, and have its inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation.

The other nine winning communities are: Alamosa County, Colo.; Chickaloon Native Village; Drew, Miss.; Howard County, Md.; National City, Calif.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Rocky Mount, N.C.; Thunder Valley Community—Oglala Lakota Nation (Oceti Sakowin Territory), and Worcester, Mass.

Addison now joins Cicero as the second Illinois community to win the distinguished prize.

“The strength of Addison is our community partnerships,” said Dr. Jean Barbanente, superintendent of DuPage High School District 88. “Whether it’s about academics, physical health, social-emotional needs, or equity and inclusion, we’re able to support all aspects of health through the relationships we have with organizations across Addison. The phrase ‘It takes a village and takes a community’ really plays out here in Addison.”

To become a RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Addison had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria:

● Defining health in the broadest possible terms;

● Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions;

● Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health;

● Maximizing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members;

● Securing and making the most of available resources;

● Measuring and sharing progress and results.

“A Culture of Health means that we have laid the groundwork,” said Liz Lynch, head of Teen Services with the Addison Public Library. “We have created so many pathways, that everything you need to thrive is easily accessible to everybody.”

 

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