Conversations on Rural Health Disparities Micro-Grant Funding


Upstate New York is home to many beautiful and vibrant rural communities.  Many of the 16 counties that are served by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York are predominantly rural, with a number of small cities and towns that people call home. 

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York’s strategic plan includes a commitment to addressing health disparities in the rural communities we serve. To support this commitment, we commissioned a scan to identify opportunities for improving outreach efforts to three rural counties in the Southern Tier of western New York—an area with vast health needs that have been historically under-resourced.

The narrative report resulting from this scan, Community Health Needs and Opportunities in Western New York’s Southern Tier, finds that overarching systemic needs rooted in the social determinants of health exist throughout rural communities and are major contributors to health outcomes. Transportation access, health care workforce shortages, under-funded community services, historical trauma associated with race and geography, and the impact of poverty are among the factors named as contributing to health disparities.

The report also captures positive attributes in community health in rural communities, including a strong network of community-based organizations working to meet the needs of the people of the Southern Tier, innovative programs and initiatives to address issues such as trauma-informed care practices, and a commitment to collaboration among health care and community service providers that has been strengthened by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download the report as a PDF here.

View our July 18, 2022, webinar on rural health disparities in New York here. 

The “Conversations on Rural Health Disparities” Micro-grant Fund 

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York has seen this report and a follow-up webinar (view recording above) inspire conversation and creative thinking about how to make the most of assets to address persistent health disparities in rural New York. To help those conversations continue, we are proud to offer micro-grants up to $5,000 for those who want to come together for dialogue, learning, and action planning related to community health needs in the rural communities of New York State.

How to Apply

Submit your application here through our grants management portal, Fluxx. You will be prompted to complete a simple registration process. Once you are registered, click “Apply for Funding” and you will find the application under “Current RFP: Conversations on Rural Health Disparities Microgrant Fund”

What kind of projects are we supporting with these micro-grants?

Applicants may request up to $5,000 to fund activities that nurture conversations and spark action on addressing health disparities in rural New York communities.

Funded activities might include covering costs to bring an inspiring speaker to your community, providing lunch and stipends to community members to gather their perspectives on an issue you wish to address, or compensating a facilitator to lead an action-oriented workshop. This fund can help you cover small one-time expenses or something a little bit bigger. This fund is not intended for research projects. 

Recipients must be located or serve one of the sixteen counties served by the Health Foundation: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties in western New York, and Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Tompkins counties in central New York.

Applicants must include at least one 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, but if you need us to connect you with a 501(c)3 to partner with, we are happy to do so.

We strongly encourage Health Leadership Fellows graduates to apply.

Please use this application to start a conversation with the Health Foundation on what you would like to do!

Key Dates: We will accept applications on a rolling basis for the remainder of this year.  Applicants can expect to be contacted by a Health Foundation representative within 14 days of submitting an application. 

Questions? Email our team at