Invest Health: Phoenix Convening Support (Community Development Consultant)

At the same time that I was supporting the grant-funded work of CSEP, I (Holly) was also working as a consultant for Reinvestment Fund (RF) in support of national the “Invest Health” project funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (For more information about this extraordinary effort, scroll to the end of this post and read an excerpt from the outreach document that I helped write during my contract with RF.)

Under our agreement, deliverables from Mosaic Collective, LLC included support related to the planning of the 3rd national convening in Phoenix, AZ (where I am still well connected professionally…hence the invitation to help) for all 50 Invest Health teams from around the US, including the following:

general project support

  • Identification of potential Phoenix-based panel members, keynote speakers, and local guests
  • Related research, outreach and communication and related planning documents, reports, analysis
  • Restaurant recommendation list for team members and convening guests
  • Coordination of lodging, transportation, workshops, panels, breakout sessions
  • Planning via conference calls and email with RF staff and Phoenix contacts, and project management via One Note and other tools

welcome reception

  • Identification of potential venues for welcoming reception in Phoenix
  • Invite site visit contacts (see below) to opening reception at Heard
  • Greet local guests including Mayor’s staff at opening event

Site Visit planning

  • Identified of 2-4 sites in Phoenix related to health care innovation and health equity prior to April scouting trip
  • Conducted outreach to organizational leadership regarding site visits
  • Supported Reinvestment Fund staff on a scouting trip prior to the June convening
  • Planned logistics related to site visits, including contacts, transportation, schedule, agenda, background materials for course catalogue
  • Obtained bids and arranged ground transportation to and from four sites
  • Led and facilitated all 4 site visits in June for between 20-50 people – see photos below from each site
  • Coordination of details for payment of honoraria for site visit hosts following convening

Liaison to local partners

  • Native American Connections‘ (NAC) Patina Wellness Center (residential substance abuse treatment) and Encanto Pointe (permanent supported housing), which employs holistic and spiritually based care leading to low recidivism and high long-term independence
  • Maryvale Community Center’s MyCommunity Connect, a partnership between Chicanos Por La Causa and United Healthcare, among others in which various social services are no-wrong-door and co-located, and data is shared among the health plans and the vendors
  • Discovery Triangle’s Fresh Express Bus, a repurposed city bus functioning as a mobile produce market to Phoenix area food deserts
  • ASU College of Public Service’s Westward Co “Collaboratory,” an example of redevelopment, public-private partnership, and co-located services that provides students with real world experience and Section 8 residents with real services


For the welcome reception mentioned above, I provided RF a list of venues in the heart of Phoenix, and we settled on the Heard Museum, a true Phoenix gem. In a stroke of luck, the convening opener was held during the Frida + Diego exhibit, to which our guests had full access. This was a tremendous opportunity, as Phoenix is the only place in the US where this exhibit will be available. The exhibit includes stunning historical photographs of Frida and Diego, including some by icons such as Edward Weston, whose work I’ve always admired. (Note: Photography without flash was permitted in the exhibit.)

Invest Health Welcome Reception at Heard Museum, Phoenix, June 2017



The site visits were truly extraordinary, and featured some of Arizona’s most innovative and compassionate leaders. I was so honored to be a part of this, and so grateful to reconnect with many good people in Phoenix.

Native American Connections’ Patina Wellness Center


Diana Yazzie Devine, CEO of Native American Connections


Maryvale Community Center, MyCommunity Connect


Discovery Triangle’s Fresh Express Bus, a mobile produce market


Discovery Triangle’s Fresh Express Bus, a mobile produce market


Site Visit to ASU’s Collaboratory


Collaboratory on Central (“Westward Ho”) – lobby floor tile inside the revitalized historic building, Phoenix, AZ


Invest Health is an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Reinvestment Fund that seeks to fundamentally change the way cities improve opportunities for their citizens to live healthy lives. Through a highly competitive process, teams of five cross-sector leaders from 50 mid-sized cities across the country were selected to participate in Invest Health, an 18-month program designed to increase intentional collaboration at the intersection of community development and health. More information about the Invest Health initiative is available at, including a list of the 50 cities participating in the project. The Invest Health initiative is among the significant efforts by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create a nationwide “Culture of Health” in which all people have an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life they can, regardless of where they may live, how much they earn, or the color of their skin.

Reinvestment Fund ( is a community development financial institution (CDFI) whose mission is to build wealth and opportunity for low-wealth people and places through the promotion of socially and environmentally responsible development. RF integrates data, policy, and strategic investments to act as a catalyst for change and expand opportunity in low-income neighborhoods. Over the course of the initiative, RF is supporting Invest Health teams as they develop strategies for improving resident well-being in neighborhoods facing the biggest barriers to health and opportunity.

Grant Recipients / City Teams are focusing on one or more of the key social determinants of health: housing, safety and resilience, transportation, education and employment, and/or local food systems and production. While each team is pursuing an approach tailor-made to its local context, outcomes expected within the cohort of 50 cities include: creation of a long-term pipeline of projects that intentionally incorporate elements to improve resident health and well-being, development of collaborative infrastructure around a vision for better health; and increased leveraging of private and public investments.

The Phoenix Convening  Periodically throughout the initiative, Invest Health city teams and partner organizations gather at convenings to learn from subject matter experts and one another, problem-solve, and fortify connections with other cities in the cohort. The initiative includes both national convenings, in which all 50 Invest Health teams participate, and also smaller, topically-focused “pod” convenings. Phoenix was selected as the host city for the third national convening.