Working with community members to make communities well.

(The deadlines to submit applications for 2020 are February 7th, April 10th, June 5th, August 7nd, October 2th and December 4th)

5 Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF) is a tax-exempt, private foundation governed by a volunteer board of directors representing populations included in the school-districts of Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester and Stockbridge, generally referred to as the 5HF service area.  The mission of the 5HF is to create a culture of wellness and foster sustainable improvements in community health.

Total funding for community investments (grants) is determined, annually, by the 5HF. The funds for community investment come from the returns made on the market investment of 5HF assets.  Grants are made to a range of non-profit organizations that demonstrate grant funding will be used to further 5HF’s mission.

Only non-profit organizations serving the 5HF service area are considered for funding.  Funding information and5 applications can be found on the 5HF website.


5HF’s philosophy adheres to its values of stewardship, innovation and collaboration.  Funding will be granted to well-designed programs that are able to clearly identify expected outcomes.  5HF will consider programs and projects that fund-seekers identify as able to meet the current needs of a community or communities in the service area.  In addition, funding will be available for visionary projects intended to improve a community’s or communities’ health measures.  In some circumstances the 5HF may identify a non-profit organization or group of non-profit organizations and request development of a program to address a specific issue.

The 5HF philosophy is to be responsive, interactive and proactive in its efforts to improve the wellness of its communities.

Method of Solicitation

5HF considers applications for funding community Comprehensive Wellness Plans.   The Comprehensive Wellness Plan (Plan) are made up of multiple strategies, each with an identified non-profit oversight organization.  Funds will be distributed to the non-profit, oversight organization.  Plan funding will be referred to as 5H funding.

The Plan will be evaluated in its entirety to assure it addresses all four elements of a comprehensive plan (eat better, move more, avoid unhealthy substances and connect with others in healthy ways) or explains why the Plan is focused on specific elements.  The Plan should have the potential to reach multiple segments of the community’s population.  In addition, individual strategies will be evaluated based on funding criteria, outlined below.

The community’s Wellness Coalition is the clearinghouse for wellness-related activities seeking 5HF funding.  The Wellness Coalition maintains the community’s Comprehensive Wellness Plan.  Even applicants requesting funds for projects across communities should begin by engaging the affected Wellness Coalitions.

Organizations with ideas for wellness activities that do not fit in the community’s Plan may submit a letter of inquiry to CWF, including documentation from their Wellness Coalition, of actions taken to inform and discuss with the Wellness Coalition, the activity’s potential for inclusion in the Plan.  Documentation may take the form of meeting minutes, email correspondence or a letter from Wellness Coalition leadership.

An outline for the letter of inquiry can be found at the link on this page.  The letter of inquiry will be reviewed by the 5HF Grant Committee.  Following the review the Grant Committee will make the following recommendation to the applicant

  • Continue to work with the Wellness Coalition to seek funding through 5H
  • Submit a grant to the 5HF for consideration
  • Seek funding from an alternate source

If an organization’s letter of inquiry is approved, an application for funding may be completed & submitted.  The application will be evaluated based on funding criteria, outlined below.

A letter of inquiry will not be required for grant applications of less than $5000 although documentation of discussions with the Wellness Coalition will still be required.

Application and Application Review

Applications for all grants are evaluated by a committee made up of representatives from the 5HF Board of Directors and community volunteers.   Volunteer committee members are selected from the 5HF service area, based on a commitment to or special knowledge of community wellness issues.  The BOD will make every effort to appoint committee members who will evaluate plans in an unbiased manner.

Committee members may meet with applicants and others in order to make the best decision about the community’s request.

Following evaluation, the committee will make one of the following recommendations to the 5HF BOD:

  • Fund
  • Do not fund
  • Defer to BOD for further discussion

Because the BOD committee members are active in the community, potential conflicts of interest may arise.  To avoid the perception of unfair advantage, those who submit applications must refrain from discussing the application with any BOD member outside of the official grant application review process.

If a committee member is engaged in any activity or has a demonstrated interest that may cause bias for or against a grant application, the member will disclose the conflict during a committee meeting.  The committee may ask the member to abstain from further review, discussion and voting on the application.  The decision of the committee will be duly recorded in the minutes of the meeting.  The 5HF BOD will follow the same procedure for potential conflict of interest at the time of final funding decisions.

Funding Criteria

Preference will be given to 5H Plans and applications outside 5H funding that:

  • Are consistent with 5HF’s mission and address one or more of our four vision elements (5H Plans must address all four)
  • Address policy, infrastructure (built environment), systems or behavior/culture
  • Show evidence of community collaboration
  • Address the needs identified for the service area
  • Demonstrate organizational capacity including
  •        Capability of efficiently implementing the project
  •        Structure and leadership sufficient to manage the project
  •        A history and track record from previous projects
  •        Community buy-in
  • Demonstrate credibility
  •         Evidence based
  •         Apply best practice
  •         Based in logic
  • Impact a large number of service area residents
  • Demonstrate innovation
  • Are measurable
  • Are feasible (financially and otherwise)
  • Collaborate with other service area communities
  • Addresses health disparities

Funding will only be made to nonprofit organizations that demonstrate sound accounting procedures.  Wellness Coalition final evaluation reports for each 5H project will be submitted to the CWF. No funds will be awarded to organizations with outstanding evaluation reports for any current or past CWF-supported projects.

The Grant Committee meets every other month to review grant applications.  Grant applications must be submitted by the deadline listed for that cycle. If your application is submitted one or more days after the deadline it will not be considered until the next grant cycle.

The 5HF does not generally fund the following programs and projects:

  • Debt reduction
  • Annual appeals
  • Memberships
  • Benefiting an individual or a few people
  • Endowment building