Winners will receive funding for their community solutions to rising Millennial health challenges
The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia (ELGP) and Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced the Grand Prize winners of the Well City Challenge today. The Well City Challenge is a social impact program supporting innovators with new ideas for addressing and improving millennial mental and physical health through community-led ventures.
Three Grand Prize winners were selected by a panel of expert judges and each received $10,000 to continue refining and implementing their ideas to help improve millennial health.
Well City Challenge winners were selected from among 15 finalist teams chosen from a pool of more than 100 applications representing all five counties and 51 ZIP codes in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Grand Prize winners were chosen for three unique categories – Community and Social Connection, Food and Nutrition, and Mind and Body.
The 2021 Well City Challenge Grand Prize winners are:
Community & Social Connection
Grand Prize Winner: Hey Auntie! is a virtual multigenerational matching service for millennial women of color and seasoned women to discuss their careers, provide mentorship and support, and outline career goals.
Food & Nutrition
Grand Prize Winner: The Freedom Greens & Gardens Project reimagines Malcolm X Park and surrounding blocks as a destination for wellness within the heart of West Philadelphia by providing a place where millennials can learn how to plan and cook nutritious meals and receive the resources and tools they need to live healthier lifestyles and thrive physically and mentally.
Mind and Body
Grand Prize Winner: Shear Balance is a program to bring mental health awareness to beauty salons and barber shops through providing knowledge about mental health and wellness. By bringing mental health education to trusted community gathering places, Shear Balance will provide access to vital support services that may have previously been inaccessible to these community members.
“The millennial generation has experienced drastic increases in a wide range of major health issues and now faces a historic pandemic. With millennials becoming the largest age-based demographic cohort in the United States, we knew we needed to tackle this problem with different solutions,”said Gregory E. Deavens, Independence president and CEO.
“Each of the winning Well City Challenge teams developed inspiring and unique action plans that will help improve health outcomes and quality of life experienced by their friends, neighbors and community members across the Philadelphia area,” continued Deavens.
“In October, with the help of Independence Blue Cross, we put out the call for everyday innovators from our region to submit their ideas for addressing the rising millennial health challenges,” said Nick Frontino, managing director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. “Today, we have a group of Philadelphians who we know will change the health and wellness landscape of our city for the better. We are proud of the difference our Grand Prize winners are making in our community and look forward to seeing them bring their ideas to life.”
In addition to the Grand Prize winners, three People’s Choice winners will be announced on March 9. The People’s Choice winners were selected by members of the public and received $7,500 to continue refining and implementing their ideas to benefit the quality of life and health outcomes experienced by millennials.
The Well City Challenge was inspired by the 2019 Blue Cross Blue Shield Health of America report “The Health of Millennials,” which found that millennials are suffering from more physical and mental health challenges than previous generations, including double-digit increases in 8 out of 10 top health conditions. Additional research found the economic impact of millennials’ poorer health could result in healthcare treatments increasing by 33 percent, a 40 percent mortality rate increase, and a potential average annual income reduction of $4,500 for each millennial.