2023 Well City Challenge: Heart + Mind Health

Powered by funding from Independence Blue Cross, in 2023 we partnered with Accelerate Health Equity to launch the Well City Challenge: Community Solutions for Heart & Mind Health.  Nearly 100 everyday innovators submitted proposals aimed at the health equity challenges facing our communities.  

WCC 2023 Pitch competition winners photographed

Pitch Competition Recap & Upcoming Community Showcase

After a rigorous screening process, 15 teams entered the WCC Incubator to prepare for a shark-tank-style pitch competition.  On May 4, 2023, the teams pitched their ideas to a panel of expert judges who chose three teams to win cash prizes of $10,000 and to advance to the next stage in the competition.  Three additional teams won People's Choice awards of $7,500 and also advanced to the next stage.   (Thanks to Pitch Competition Sponsor GIANT for additional support!)

One June 1st the teams entered a 3-month Social Impact Accelerator designed to hone and stress-test their ideas. On September 26, 2023, we will announce the winner of this year's $50,000 grand prize at our Community Showcase.  Use the link below to register to attend.  

"Behind the scenes" with the Well City finalists...

In order to give us a "behind the scenes" look at their journey to the Well City Challenge finish line, each team has produced a blog.  We'll post new entries each week leading up to the Grand Prize announcement at the Community Showcase on September 26.  

Kudos to the winners of the Well City Challenge Pitch Competition!

Well City Winners


That Could Be Me (TCBMe) is a Social Selfcare Platform that empowers Black & Brown youth to define their future and unleash their potential through free access to creative expression technologies.

The Hermitage Philadelphia offers a variety of free to low-cost wellness services in a welcoming, hospitable and non-clinical atmosphere to promote rest and peace.

Peds 360+ offers a unique integrative approach to pediatric medicine by providing comprehensive, family-centered care.

Heart Healthy Philadelphia addresses health inequity and primordial prevention of heart disease by training high school students in local community schools and via social media platforms

Well Within Reach promotes opportunities for all residents to access quality health & wellness resources facilitated by local providers & public spaces.

EPIC Life is a Community Development & Wellness App aims to meet people in nightlife activities while addressing core issues of isolation that lead to heart & mental health decline

Constructing the Challenge: Community Listening Sessions

Prior to launching the well City Challenge, the Economy League held a series of community listening sessions to compile the community’s most significant concerns regarding mental and cardiovascular health. Those community-sourced issues served as the basis for the competition’s subcategories.


Well City Challenge Subcategories

With today’s technology, there are new opportunities to build community in nontraditional ways, breaking down the invisible walls that act as barriers to true connection. Those walls include arbitrary lines between neighborhoods but also the divisions between generations. Creating stronger community and social connections gives us a chance to empower neighbors, tap into grassroots leadership, and increase access to resources.

Too often, health disparities come down to one thing: access. There is no shortage of hospitals and health resources in the region, but the reality is that the quality of care is often dictated by a patient’s race or ethnicity. Likewise, many under-resourced neighborhoods lack access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods. We must build pathways to care and nutrition that embraces and reflects the community’s identity, instead of working against it.

Our environment has a direct impact on our health, and unsafe environments lead to unhealthy outcomes. Here in Philadelphia, our neighborhoods are facing an epidemic of gun violence. There is an undeniable link between violence and health—whether poor mental health leads to violence, victims of violence face poor mental health outcomes, or neighbors are fearful of their surroundings. Unsafe streets are preventing many neighbors from walking, gathering, attending community hubs, and other activities that contribute to health and wellness. Safe spaces are critical to both mind and heart health.



Anavi Strategies

Anavi Strategies is proposing to scale the use of trauma-informed organizational practices within non-profit organizations using concrete tools, training, & technology. Anavi works with mission-driven leaders to achieve transformational change using a trauma-informed business model that we have created & refined. Anavi hopes to help client organizations to develop their own trauma-informed procedures as well. 


Counseling in Motion

Counseling in Motion uses boxing and other exercises to help bring therapy and mental wellness to inner-city youth; to those who haven’t had access to mental health resources or who may not seek out traditional therapy on their own 


Hoops for Hearts

Hoops for Hearts is a basketball program for middle schoolers in underserved communities designed to make cardiac health awareness "cool." Hoops for Hearts aims to raise awareness of heart health and the importance of staying active to reduce susceptibility to heart disease and high blood pressure. The program will involve interactive lectures, tournaments, leadership development, and mentorship that follows them into high school. 


That Could Be Me (TCBMe)

That Could Be Me is a Social Selfcare Platform that empowers Black & Brown youth to define their future and unleash their potential through free access to creative expression technologies.  We help them find their tribe, then collaborate to write lyrics & stories, create art & comics, and produce photography & fashion that express who they are, who they want to be, and their vision of the future.   Our transformational programming nurtures behavioral health and teaches marketable skills that help them bring their ideas and dreams to life.


The Hermitage Philadelphia

The Hermitage Philadelphia is aiming to establish a not-for-profit retreat center for Community Mental Health professionals at the historic Hermitage Mansion in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. The Hermitage Philadelphia will offer a variety of free to low-cost wellness services in a welcoming, hospitable and non-clinical atmosphere to promote rest and peace. 


Food Connect

Food Connect’s mission is to bridge the gaps at the intersection of hunger, food waste, and health by measuring and evaluating the impact of our feeding programs with data-driven technology. 


First Greens Farm

First Greens Farm's vision is to establish the first of several 10,000 sq. ft. indoor hydroponic vertical farms. Growing indoors will provide local consumers with nutrient dense leafy greens 365 days of the year; grown in clean water and no soil! First Greens Farm will be able to germinate, grow and harvest daily, all while utilizing vacant buildings that proliferate in our neighborhoods. 


Healthy Heart Philadelphia

Healthy Heart Philadelphia will address health inequity and primordial prevention of heart disease by training high school students in local community schools and via social media platforms. The program will include live workshops, wellness talks, food prep and cooking demonstrations, and online content. Healthy Heart Adults Philadelphia will identify and provide heart disease screening and education services to adults 35 years and above in high-risk areas of Philadelphia. 


Peds 360+ Corp

Peds 360+ offers a unique, integrative approach to pediatric medicine by providing comprehensive, family-centered care. The Peds 360+ team of healthcare professionals combine allopathic medicine with innovative therapies such as yoga, gardening, and nutrition to promote the overall health and wellness of their patients. 


Team Up to Heal the Heart of the Community

Corrielus Cardiology is a black-owned Cardiac Care Practice that will partner with primary care providers and faith-based organizations to provide competent cardiac care to minority communities. “Team Up to Heal the Heart of the Community” will create a centrally-located heart health hub, which includes web/app platforms, telehealth, and a vibrant collaboration with local orgs to provide health education/screenings and raise heart disease awareness. 

supporting comm wcc 2023 finalist

Building Healthy Communities within Families (BuildHCF)

Building Healthy Communities within Families (BHCF) is dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of families, educating on ways to reduce violence, strengthening the family dynamics, accessing educational resources, and building community networks. BHCF has ever lasting community connections with the school district, local non-profits and community orgs, and will provide services through pop-ups and workshops. 


Every Heartbeat Counts

Every Heartbeat Counts aim to raise awareness about heart health, promote heart health prevention, and advocate for patients and high-risk community members diagnosed with degenerative heart conditions through classes, workshops, and resources hosted in partnership with aligned community wellness initiatives. 


EPIC life

EPIC Life is a Community Development & Wellness App that aims to meet people in the nightlife activities they are interested in, while addressing core issues of isolation that lead to heart and mental health decline, with a “Nightlife to Whole life” framework. This platform enables organizers to post nightlife events & opportunities, but also includes mindful, engaging health and wellness content from diverse providers. App includes personalized content and impact tracking. 


The Wellness Co-op

The Wellness Co-Op will promote opportunities for all residents to gain consistent access to quality health and wellness resources that are often considered "complementary" to traditional treatments. The Wellness Co-Op will be owned by a collective group of local wellness-oriented businesses and residents who are invested in integrating the pursuit of individual health and wellness goals with the need for fostering safe and healthy communities. Services will be facilitated by local wellness providers at local public spaces. 


The West Philly G'Hood Network

The West Philly G'Hood Network is a civic-minded social movement, facilitated and supported by easy to access social-technology platforms, and offers a modern update to the ancient wisdom. The WPGN program integrates structured "in real life" (IRL) community activities that promote family development with tech platforms (URL - Zoom, Social Media, SMS, and Tableau/ArcGIS Visual Mapping) to reconnect the "village" necessary for positive physical, mental, emotional and behavioral health outcomes. 

Keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening during the WCC!

Sign up for text alerts and never miss a beat.
Text "wcc" to (205) 778-1393 and stay in the know!