AstraZeneca - AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation awards $150,000 grant to Sankofa Community Development Corporation

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $150,000 to Sankofa Community Development Corporation to support its Sankofa Health, Education, Agriculture and Leadership (HEAL) Project. This is the third consecutive year in which the Sankofa Community Development Corporation has received a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, totaling $450,000.

The Sankofa HEAL Project teaches youth and their families about the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables as well as the associated risk reduction for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related illnesses. Participants also receive heart health and nutrition education through the development of a community garden, participation in a farmers’ market and a garden-specific curriculum.

“We are very appreciative to be awarded this third year of funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation,” said Rashida Ferdinand, executive director, Sankofa Community Development Corporation. “The grant will help us strengthen and expand the HEAL Project to directly reach more children and their families in order to continue to promote heart-healthy lifestyles and better impact our community.”

As a result of previous funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, in 2013, two-thirds of the 74 HEAL students that have participated in the program increased their knowledge of cardiovascular health, such as dietary habits and physical activity. In addition, the program has provided increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers’ Market for people of lower socioeconomic status who would otherwise not be able to afford them.

“Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, and organizations like the Sankofa Community Development Corporation are creating innovative programs to help prevent and decrease the associated risks with this devastating disease,” said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, FACC, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “We are grateful to Sankofa Community Development Corporation for its commitment to improving heart health in their community.”

The Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program annually awards grants of $150,000 or more to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving cardiovascular health in local communities. This year, the program awarded nearly $3.7 million in grants to 19 organizations. More than $14 million in grants have been awarded through the program since its inception in 2010.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSMgrant at Applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. EST on Feb. 27, 2014.

About Sankofa Community Development Corporation

Sankofa Community Development Corporation, founded in 2008, serves as a catalyst to revitalize New Orleans’ Lower and Upper Ninth Ward communities. The nonprofit organization was established to facilitate advances in urban revitalization, healthy living, youth empowerment through education and intergenerational learning. Currently, Sankofa Community Development Corporation leads the Sankofa Mobile Market, Sankofa HEAL Project and Sankofa Learning Gardens and Farms Project. Learn more at

About AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Established in 1993, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is a Delaware not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) entity organized for charitable purposes, including to promote public awareness of healthcare issues, to promote public education of medical knowledge, and to support or contribute to charitable and qualified exempt organizations consistent with its charitable purpose. Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca.

Media Inquiries

Public Communications Inc Colleen O'Donnell or Sky Oplia 312-558-1770
Sankofa Community Development Corporation Rosamar Torres 504-872-9214