In news we’re thrilled to share, the Cook’s Nook was one of fifteen solutions chosen to improve health equity in the Louisville area thanks to The ReConstruct Challenge. 

The $1.5 million innovation challenge awards each winners  a $100,000 grants to develop and implement ideas over a 12- to 18-month proof-of-concept phase. We’ll team up with community partners and UofL researchers to test how the Cook’s Nook can support the Louisville region by offering Cultura Cuisine to postpartum mothers in Louisville. After the proof-of-concept phase, we’ll be eligible to receive additional funding, which helps scale what we’re doing with our “food is medicine” mission. Our proposal was submitted to a panel of experts from the local community, academics, and industry leaders, so our solutions like our Cultura Cuisine 365, which leads to improved health and economic outcomes by providing vulnerable populations access to quality nutrition, proved to be a hit.  

Over three nights in late September, we presented our solutions and projected our impact to the public. We were fortunate to win a spot among the other initiatives, working hard to support communities that need a helping hand. The ReConstruct Challenge focuses on practical solutions for solving significant health challenges within specific communities.  

The Cook’s Nook Helps to Support Louisville 

The ReConstruct Challenge is led by the UofL Health Equity Innovation Hub (HEIH), that collaborates with Render, an innovation studio, along with funding from the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Office of Health Equity and the private operating foundation, Access Ventures. 

With so many purpose-driven organizations present, it was a sincere honor to receive this funding in the competition’s Maternal and Child Health category. We’re excited about this opportunity because it validates our core message: nutritious food effectively fights against not only food insecurity but against health conditions that can be improved through diet. The Challenge also celebrates community-driven health outcomes and supports community health initiatives. We believe in equitable outcomes, so seeing a town like Louisville embrace our mission was critical, knowing that this movement is important nationally.   

The ReConstruct Challenge is community-critical because it expands on the body of work presented by UofL’s Health Equity Innovation Hub. This innovative partnership includes UofL, Humana Inc., and the Humana Foundation, which works tirelessly to abolish the structural barriers to health for underserved populations in specific communities through research, innovation, and talent pipeline development. 

An Honor to Share the Stage 

 While it’s an honor to call ourselves winners, the competition for space in this event was monumental, with over 100 organizations from around the country submitting their proposed solutions; what we offered stood out as an effective combatant to champion changing health outcomes. We believe everyone deserves access to healthy, nutritious, and delicious food, and the panel of experts agreed! 

  What was also crucial for this event was those who received grants – the makeup of those selected was an experience in diversity: 80 percent are women-led companies, with 67 percent led by Black or brown founders. That’s a massive win for the communities we serve. 

Eight of the fifteen winners came from Louisville, with the remaining seven spread out nationally. (We proudly represented Texas.) 

 We’re excited to work with The ReConstruct Challenge, the UofL Health Equity Innovation Hub (HEIH), and Render to see how we can help postpartum mothers in Louisville access healthy meals while nursing and supporting their new babies. 

To learn more about how The Cook’s Nook can help your community, click here.

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