Convergence Partnership

A Progress Report

Dates of Program: 2006 to present

Field of Work: Vulnerable populations and childhood obesity

Problem Synopsis: Environmental factors—including lack of access to full-service grocery stores, the high cost of healthy foods, and a lack of safe places to play and exercise—contribute to obesity and related diseases. Creating communities that support healthier lifestyles requires changes in the food environment and the physical environment, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. It also requires funders, advocates, policy-makers, and practitioners in many fields to work together.

Synopsis of the Work: The Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of funders working to help create communities of healthy people living in healthy places nationwide through policy and environmental change. It focuses on federal policy advocacy, improving access to healthy foods, and improving the built environment in low-income communities and communities of color. The Convergence Partnership brings together funders, advocates, policy-makers, and practitioners from many fields (such as agriculture, the built environment, economic development, health, housing, nutrition, and violence prevention) to coordinate and synergize their work.

Since forming the Convergence Partnership in 2006, the funders—Ascension Health, California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, Kresge Foundation, Nemours, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and W.K. Kellogg Foundation—have provided $19.6 million (through May 2012). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a technical adviser to the Convergence Partnership. PolicyLink directs the program and Prevention Institute provides policy research and analysis and strategic support.

Key Findings/Results

  • The Convergence Partnership has created a healthy people in healthy places field in which people in different government agencies and from many fields are working together. Specifically:

    • The Convergence Partnership has informed federal policy discussions and contributed to cross-agency, multi-field, and equity-focused policy efforts.
    • The Convergence Partnership is connecting fields and leaders, providing training and information, and developing peer learning networks and new communities of practice.