From 2001 to 2006, staff at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Applied Life Studies established a National Blueprint Office to help implement the National Blueprint for Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Age 50 and Older, released in 2001 and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
The Blueprint Office worked with the 50 national organizations that contributed to the Blueprint to establish priorities in implementing it, coordinate their efforts to fulfill those priorities, facilitate communication among the partners and provide technical assistance.
To advance the Blueprint at the local level, the Blueprint Office also provided minigrants (up to $25,000) to 20 communities to help them overcome barriers that prevent older people from being physically active.
Blueprint partners chose 18 high-priority strategies from the more than 80 strategies in the Blueprint, a lead organization for each strategy and action items to implement within two years. By coordinating activities and sharing resources, Blueprint partners made progress on nearly every strategy.
The 20 minigrant projects reached nearly 10,000 older adults in 15 states and provided best practices that other communities can adapt to their own needs.
The Blueprint process and minigrant project encouraged partner organizations to make implementing the Blueprint a priority and helped spur a groundswell of recognition of the importance of physical activity and disease prevention among older adults, according to the project director.