Note: Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge match funding may be used for projects aimed at mitigating or responding to the impacts of COVID-19 in eligible geographic areas (see below).

To access matching funds, your project must:

  1. Provide a public benefit to residents of one of the following geographic areas of New York State:

  • Clinton County, NY

  • Niagara Falls, NY

  • Near Westside, Syracuse

  • Lower East Side, Manhattan

  • East Harlem, Manhattan

  • Brownsville, Brooklyn

  1. Be focused on improving public health outcomes or responding to the impacts of COVID-19 for residents of one of the eligible geographic areas in a specific and direct way.

  2. Not be aimed at making private profit for a specific individual, family, or business entity.

  3. Be led by or be implemented in partnership with the residents of the neighborhood where the project is taking place.

  4. Be implemented by Spring 2021 at latest.

  5. Be specific and concrete. Please note that all ioby campaign pages must include a budget outlining how funds will be spent.

Eligible Expenses:

Funds raised as part of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge can be used to cover any cost directly related to your specific project, including:

  • food and other event costs

  • event permitting fees

  • volunteer rewards such as T-shirts

  • advertising and marketing

  • materials and equipment

  • educator, performer, speaker or intern stipends

  • local travel

  • software and hardware

  • contracted services

  • consultant fees

  • staff salaries and administrative overhead, prorated for the time spent on the project

Examples of eligible projects:


  • COVID-19 Response - Projects that help your community respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
    • Support for local charitable institutions (soup kitchen, food bank, senior center, etc) experiencing increased demand.
    • Educational events and materials to provide accurate COVID-19 information in your community.
    • Providing new online events or services that fight isolation, help neighbors connect, and lift spirits in your community.
    • Providing new local initiatives that support vulnerable community members with food deliveries, child care support, etc. 
    • Covering unexpected, COVID-19 related costs for your nonprofit or community based organization, such as:  1) Technology needed to continue your work virtually; 2) Expenses related to rescheduling events; 3) Mileage or taxi reimbursements for staff and volunteers avoiding public transit; 4) Additional supplies (masks, disposable gloves, cleaning supplies, etc) needed to provide your community services more safely.
  • Food - Projects that promote food justice, or improve the production, distribution, affordability or popularity of healthy food in your neighborhood.

    • Community gardens

    • Farmers markets

    • Healthy cooking classes for the community

    • Kitchen facility upgrades in a community facility

    • Soup kitchens and food security programs

    • School gardens or school-based nutrition education programs

  • Active transportation and recreation - Projects that help to make your neighborhood more bikeable and walkable, and to encourage people to choose active transportation and recreation.

    • Bike safety workshops and helmet giveaways

    • Pedestrian and bicycle safety advocacy work

    • Youth fitness programs and extracurricular sports activities

    • Free exercise classes offered in a community space

    • Community walking or running groups

    • Free or affordable dance classes

    • Active-living amenities such as exercise equipment in parks, new walking trails, improved lighting or signage along existing trails.

  • Green space - Projects that make your neighborhood greener through caring for parks, gardens, or street trees, and that encourage resident use of and engagement with green spaces.

    • Improving park playgrounds

    • Free yoga or exercise classes in a park

    • Planting new street trees

    • Park clean-up days

    • Community events held in parks or gardens

    • Converting a vacant lot into a community garden or pocket park

  • Education and access - Projects that educate your neighbors about health and wellness, increase access to and understanding of health services, or encourage adoption of healthy lifestyle choices.

    • Block parties with free health tests and information about disease prevention

    • Awareness-building events about a specific disease

    • Reproductive health initiatives or education programs

    • Anti-violence work

    • Programs that support those managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma

    • Community organizing initiatives focused on health equity

    • Anti-smoking campaigns

    • Emergency preparedness initiatives

    • Aging-in-place initiatives


Check out all the inspiring funded projects from the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 rounds of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge for more specific examples of eligible projects!

Examples of ineligible projects:

  • Arts or cultural projects that lack a primary focus on impacting health outcomes, such as general performances or exhibits.

  • Social service projects that lack a primary focus on impacting health outcomes, such as job training or affordable housing programs.

  • Charitable projects that lack a primary focus on impacting health outcomes, such as clothing and gift giveaways.

  • Projects that improve community life, generally, but lack a primary focus on human health outcomes, such as recycling initiatives, environmental education programs, murals and beautification projects, feral animal management, street festivals and block parties, or literacy and tutoring programs.

  • Events limited to the membership of a specific organization that are not reasonably accessible to neighborhood residents.

  • Fundraising for a pool of funds to be re-granted to others or used for an unspecified purpose in the future.

Want to discuss your project and see if it’s a good fit? Contact Ethany Uttech, ioby Partnerships Manager, at or 917-464-4515 x 5.


If your project isn’t the right fit for the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge, you may still be eligible to fundraise on ioby without matching funds, which will still give you access to our training materials, low-fees, fiscal sponsorship, and one-on-one support from an experienced Leader Success Strategist.


Share your idea today to get started!


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