The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching describes community engagement as the collaboration between higher education institutions and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership. This article describes the development, implementation and outcomes of a community-engaged grant-making program, the Community Health Innovation Awards (CHIA). The CHIA program was the by-product of a qualitative study jointly led by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and neighborhood leaders from the surrounding communities in Birmingham, AL. The competitive program provided funding to area organizations that proposed creative solutions to on-the-ground health challenges. Since its inception, CHIA has awarded $356,500 to 26 innovative projects between 2012 and 2017. These awards have supported novel programs that have connected academic and community partners in addressing health disparities and improving overall community well-being in the greater Birmingham area.
Keywords: Community Engagement; Community Grants; Health Concerns; Innovation; Urban Communities.