Empowering Communities

Ohio boasts a strong reputation for innovation combined with heart. The diverse nature of the state includes eight urban centers, sprawling Appalachian counties, countless suburban towns, and rural communities. As a result, Ohio serves as an economic, cultural, and political microcosm of the United States. That translates into being a hotbed of activity for test markets and pilots of all kinds.

Social issues and solutions are the key to economic growth and community stability. We are eager to leverage more than 200 outstanding Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) community development organizations to accelerate and implement next-generation social innovation.


OCDCA and the CareSource Foundation are tackling this head-on by launching the Empowering Communities Grant Challenge.
The Empowering Communities Grant Challenge opportunity will provide funding for innovative solutions to unique community challenges that involve the social determinants of health. The process consists of three stages:

  • Request for Proposal (RFP) process
  • Concept Presentation including Q&A
  • Implementation Phase

Watch the March 20, 2018 webinar called, "What is Empowering Communities?" This webinar covered more information about this brand, new funding opportunity.


The CareSource Foundation invests in nonprofit organizations that focus on the social determinants of health—those conditions that have significant positive or negative impact on overall quality of life. They define it in terms of the broad areas of:

  • Eliminating poverty/economic stability
  • Access to health care services
  • Addressing critical health trends to build or rebuild healthy communities
  • Positive birth outcomes
  • Domestic violence/child abuse
  • Access to economic and job opportunities
  • Sustainable housing solutions
  • Population health issues
  • Transportation disparities
  • Mental and behavioral health
  • Health and cultural literacy


The Empowering Communities project must contain elements that meet community needs including:

  • Innovative approach to a pressing community need
  • Engaged community with proven support of direction
  • Optional partnerships that will help drive the solution to fruition and/or ensure its success
  • Connect directly to the Social Determinants of Health focus
  • Requesting organization must be a nonprofit member in good standing of OCDCA
  • Financial integrity that meets the standards of the OCDCA review team
  • Applicant’s past performance with OCDCA opportunities may be taken into consideration.


  • Up to four organizations will earn the Empowering Communities Grant
  • Grant awards will be up to $100,000
  • OCDCA will work closely with grant recipients during the implementation phase to provide any needed technical support including strong evaluation measures
  • OCDCA will ensure that outside evaluation occurs for the projects being piloted. These outside evaluations will extend well beyond the project, and will serve as a benchmark for future implementations of the project in other parts of the state and country, helping to shape the national conversation around solving these community problems
  • The CareSource Foundation, funder of this grant opportunity, will be available and actively engaged through each step of the RFP, selection and implementation phases. Additional technical support may be available as a result.