Grantee Blog 2020

Showcasing a Culture of Health in Freehold Borough

In Freehold Borough, we are proud to be a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize Finalist in 2021.  Being named a finalist is a “win” by itself.  Regardless of the final outcome, Freehold Borough continues its work towards a culture of health for all.  Can one person or one program change culture? NO!  Freehold Borough continues to be living proof of this.


In early May, the final step in the application process included a virtual site visit.  Several meetings were included, but the session kicked off with the opportunity to share the Freehold Borough community story.  This process incorporated the voices, both live and recorded, of 30 Freehold Borough residents and those who work to serve the community.  Included were historical highlights, discussion of challenges and evolving community demographics and a highlight 10 “pieces” of Freehold Borough, including schools, housing, businesses, faith based community and more.  These pieces represented the diversity of organizations, individuals and efforts working strategically to provide equitable opportunities for all.


One piece to highlight is “Community Empowerment.”  The work of the Freehold Intergenerational Community Council (FICC) was showcased.  Angelica Espinal-Garcia, the Program Coordinator, provided context to the vision of the group, working to bridge ages, cultures, and languages to provide skills and support to facilitate community change.  Efforts to empower community members to feel valued, feel comfortable and open to sharing their opinions and working to come up with solutions is integral to building, but also maintaining a culture of health.


While Freehold Borough will not learn if they have won the prize until the fall, the process has been an important opportunity for community leaders and residents to come together and share in both small and large successes.  Often, work is happening everyday to build upon the work of many, but the collective impact is not always seen.  Reflection and pride have been a constant in the Culture of Health Prize application process.  Be sure to look for the winners announced this fall!

About the Grantee


Neighborhood Connections to Health (NCTH) is a community non-profit organization, which began as a portion of the work of the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA). NCTH was formed in 2016 and currently works under 4 priority areas: Intergenerational Physical Activity, Bikeability/Walkability, Lead Prevention and Access to Healthy Foods.