IDPH Announces $3.7 Million in Federally Funded Grant Opportunities for COVID-19 Health Equity Strategies

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced up to $3.7 million in grants are available for communities outside of Cook County to address and implement COVID-19 health equity strategies.

“Public health has a distinct role in walking alongside our communities to tackle and address the root causes of health inequity,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars. “While these inequities have been brought into stark contrast by the impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, we know that there are solutions that can be applied. The heart of this project is to uplift local voices and develop local solutions in a way that will provide sustainable improvements to health and well-being for our Illinois communities.”

The federally funded program, Activating Relationships In Illinois for Systemic Equity (ARISE), is a joint initiative of IDPH’s Center for Minority Health Services and The Center for Rural Health, in collaboration with Well-being and Equity (WE) in the World, invites organizations to address the long-standing health inequities in their communities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 15 community collaborations of three or more partners and their associated local health department will be awarded up to $235,000 to address and to implement a health equity strategy in the context of COVID-19. Up to 25 additional communities will receive $10,000 microgrants to advance health equity.

ARISE, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to support socio-economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities outside of Cook County that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The selected ARISE Community Equity Zone communities will engage in an intensive “learning-and-doing” capacity building program to advance health equity in the short, medium, and long term. Communities will be offered technical assistance and relational accompaniment by WE in the World to develop and to implement a balanced health equity strategy using the newly released Pathways to Population Health Equity framework, as well as gain access to “best in class” data, storytelling, and engagement and communication support. The program is designed to assist communities to build a strategy to:

  • Improve the mental, physical, social and spiritual health and well-being of communities experiencing equity gaps in the context of COVID-19.
  • Address underlying vital community conditions, such as access to meaningful work and wealth, humane housing, and reliable transportation, that perpetuate health inequities.
  • Address root causes of health inequities, such as racism and an inequitable economy.
  • Building civic capacity and infrastructure for long-term systemic change.

“Illinois is stepping forward as an innovator in strategically advancing health equity in the context of this award,” said Dr. Somava Saha, executive lead of WE in the World. “By partnering with communities experiencing inequities, by investing in civic capacity and underlying conditions for systemic change, Illinois is charting a path toward becoming a state where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential for health and life. WE in the World is honored to be walking alongside Illinois communities on this journey.”

Applicants are encouraged to attend a series of informational webinar sessions to learn more and to qualify to apply for the grants:

Applications open June 1, 2022, and are due by 5 p.m. CDT June 27, 2022

For more information contact IDPH Center for Minority Health Services at or Veronica Halloway at or 217-785-4311.


ARISE (Activating Relationships in Illinois for Systemic Equity) is an opportunity for motivated urban and rural communities outside of Cook County that have experienced historic and present-day inequities in the context of COVID-19 to advance community resilience, sustainability, well-being, and equity.

Using frameworks, such as Pathways to Population Health Equity, resources, and tools, ARISE will support local groups who have deep roots in their communities and know best what their neighbors need. These local community-based groups work as trusted messengers in areas that have been most impacted by COVID-19. This initiative will serve as a foundation for the development of Community Equity Zones in places that have experienced long standing poverty and health inequities.

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