By Seth Daniel
Two Chelsea organizations and the City are teaming up to make sure their combined application, as well as an upcoming site visit, will prevail as the winner in the 6th annual Culture of Health prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Currently, every Thursday, a collaboration of members from GreenRoots, the City, The Neighborhood Developers and MGH Chelsea have been meeting with City Manager Tom Ambrosino to prepare for a two-day site visit to the City by the selection committee. The visit will be on May 18-19.
“Now we are one of 11 finalists throughout all the country,” said Ambrosino. “They have a group of site visits where they visit each finalist community to critique them. It’s a two-day event on May 18 and 19. That’s what we’re preparing for right now.”
The Chelsea GreenRoots and the MGH/TND team both applied for the prize during the first round, but neither knew that the other had applied. Having watched the City of Everett win last year, many in Chelsea though they had a good chance to showcase the city as well and win the $25,000 cash prize.
After Round 1 was completed, both organizations were contacted by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and told they both had strong applications. They were asked if they would consider combining them, and the answer was a resounding ‘yes.’
Now, having survived Round 1, they are hoping to be chosen from the 11 finalists.
“I’m sort of equating this to the All-American City event, except they come here to us,” said Roseann Bongiovanni of GreenRoots. “A few of us may have taken the lead on this, but this is really about showing how all of Chelsea has collaborated to make Chelsea a better place to live.”
Leslie Aldrich of MGH said the Foundation is looking for communities that work together to tackle a broad definition of public health, from environment to youth violence to anti-poverty work to housing and economic development.
“They’re really looking for collaboration and how we work together and we collaborate to move things forward,” she said. “There’s really no community like Chelsea when it comes to that. So, our application is very strong when it comes to showing how we collaborate on a broad definition of health.”
The site team, who are all independent experts in the public health field, will be on a bus tour that will include several stops throughout the day at places that show Chelsea working on better community health.
The visit will also include the showing of a four-minute video that was put together by several youth groups in Chelsea.
The winner of the prize is expected to be announced in late summer.