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A Movement vs. a Program

Posted on 05/19/14 in SC Perspectives

(May 2014) Vedette Gavin, former Saint Luke’s Foundation Francis Beam Fellow, looked at me and said “HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) is not a program – it is a movement.” Simply put, a movement is not an organizational or individual effort – it is a community led effort to bring about change.

When I think about other social movements like the Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Environmental, and LGBT movements, I think: people, organic structure, diverse voices and opinions, small wins, minor setbacks, and big victories that result in societal transformation. With HEAL, the aim is to identify and address neighborhood conditions that impact health, engage residents and expand opportunities healthy eating and active living

A Movement vs. a Program

A Movement vs. a Program

An example of ongoing programming that HEAL established. Click image to enlarge.

As a relatively young foundation – just 17 years old – we consider ourselves a learning organization and by design, remain open to trying new things. The HEAL work offers the following lessons:

  • Residents must remain at the center of the work – they should inform, design and lead the work
  • Build capacity – provide opportunities for training, support, sharing and building connections
  • Organizational partners need to be flexible – always question assumptions, and realize that your role may evolve
  • The work is contextual – be mindful of barriers to access, acknowledge history and culture, and leverage community assets

Stay tuned for more.

By: Nelson Beckford, Senior Program Officer for Strong Communities


The goal of the Strong Communities Program is to catalyze and sustain opportunities to improve social conditions, improve physical
environments and promote healthy community design in targeted neighborhoods.

In 2006, the Saint Luke’s Foundation Francis Beam Fellow was
established to institutionalize the memory of Francis H. Beam a
Saint Luke’s Foundation board member who embraced the belief t
hat people should serve communities in which they live and work.