Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM Announces Grant to Sankofa Community Development Corporation

NEW ORLEANS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation program, Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM, today announced a grant of $150,000 to the Sankofa Community Development Corporation in New Orleans to create the Sankofa HEAL Project.

The goal of the Sankofa HEAL Project is to teach African-American youth and their families about the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. The project is also designed to raise awareness about risks associated with being overweight and obese, or for associated health conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

“This revitalization project will be a significant staple in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward community, offering our youth a positive vehicle to effect change for years to come,” said Rashida Ferdinand, Executive Director, Sankofa Community Development Corporation. “Learning to cultivate the Frederick Douglass Garden will promote healthier eating habits, a better quality of life and will give the students valuable skills to emerge as the future leaders of this community.”

The program will develop a sustainable educational garden at KIPP Renaissance School in New Orleans, to provide instruction on growing food, nutrition and health education. The emphasis will be to decrease obesity and diabetes among children, youth and adults, with students becoming peer educators on strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The program will teach the students to harvest fruits and vegetables, engage youth from a larger community, increase consumers at the Sankofa Farmers Market, recruit students for a health/science fair and collaborate with churches and community agents for additional community health outreach work.

“We must work to decrease the risk of and prevent cardiovascular disease in the United States, by providing resources to those in need,” said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “The Sankofa Community Development Corporation is providing an innovative program to improve cardiovascular health across the greater New Orleans region.”

Connections for Cardiovascular Health was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca. The program awards grants of $150,000 and up to US-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health. The grants will be used to focus on screening initiatives that will identify patients with or at-risk of cardiovascular disease. Those individuals who do not have health insurance or are underinsured will be given the option of establishing a medical home with the free health clinic.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Foundation grant at Applications must be submitted online no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on March 15.

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 non-profit organization was established to facilitate advances in urban revitalization, healthy living, education and economic development. Currently, the Sankofa Community Development Corporation oversees the Sankofa Farmers Market, the Sankofa HEAL Project and the Sankofa Gardens and Urban Farms Project. For more information, visit

About the 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.


AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation
Thomas Hushen, 302-885-2677
Sankofa Community Development Corporation
Tasha Jones Steele, 251-709-4992
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Louisiana

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Cardiology  Fitness & Nutrition  Hospitals  Philanthropy  Consumer  African-American  Foundation  General Health