Skip to main content

March 29, 2024 

2023 Independent Health Foundation Annual Report released

Independent Health Foundation continues its mission to meet community health needs

BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 18, 2024) – In communities across the region, the Independent Health Foundation is helping to improve the health and well-being of Western New Yorkers through awareness, prevention and education programs focused on community health priorities.

From the developmental needs of infants and toddlers to providing access to crucial health screenings for senior citizens, the nonprofit organization is making a tangible difference in the lives of thousands as noted in its recently released 2023 Annual Report.

“It has been another incredible year of providing not only well-loved but evidence-based programs which have positively impacted so many of our neighbors who are facing barriers to health resources,” said Carrie Meyer, Executive Director of the Independent Health Foundation. “We are grateful to the 162 volunteers along with our board of directors who are the backbone of our ability to deliver quality programs for our community. We are especially grateful to our corporate partners, organizations, and individuals whose financial and in-kind contributions directly support our community.”

“For more than 30 years, the Independent Health Foundation has implemented programs that address the health inequalities that persist in our community,” said Stuart Angert, chairperson of the Independent Health Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Through these efforts, we have reached thousands of individuals and families in underserved neighborhoods across Western New York.”

The Independent Health Foundation’s annual report details the results of eight of its signature programs, its engagement with volunteers, and its funding support from the community. The complete report can be read here.

Signature Programs Serving all of Western New York
With a focus on helping the community stay healthy, the Independent Health Foundation programs are based on a collaborative approach and work to alleviate barriers by meeting Western New Yorkers in their own neighborhoods, schools, and homes.

  • Kids Run, which encourages families to be physically active with a free run or walk at Delaware Park, saw nearly 5,000 participants at the June event with 93 percent of survey respondents recommending the event.

  • Meanwhile more than 10,000 students across 575 classrooms participated in the Fitness for Kids Challenge which educates children on the importance of healthy habits, including trying new fruits and vegetables. The program also awarded more than $28,000 in grants to schools based on participation.

  • On the pitch, Soccer for Success programs were hosted at 31 sites in Erie, Niagara, Genesee and Cattaraugus counties, providing mentorship to nearly 2,500 children in underserved areas, focusing on healthy habits through soccer, with 77 percent improving their social and emotional learning competencies.

  • Healthy Options continued to help families explore ways to eat healthier both when dining out and cooking at home. The Healthy Options at Home program served 510 families across rural and urban areas, leaving them with more confidence in cooking healthy meals on a budget, while 22 restaurants served 44 different menu items during the inaugural Healthy Options Restaurant Week.

  • More than 2,500 community members participated in Good for the Neighborhood events at nine sites across Erie and Niagara Counties which provided fresh produce and other resources to help address social determinates of health and gaps in health care. More than a quarter of all participants also received free health screenings, giving them access to crucial information such as cholesterol and blood pressure measurements.

  • Five locations at community health centers and care clinics in Buffalo and Blasdell were part of Growing Up Strong, which supports families and pediatricians in meeting the developmental needs of children ages 0-3 through a collaborative approach. This included providing more than 500 mothers with a maternal depression screening.

  • The Student Peer Advocate Program helped high school students build skills to become leaders and make a positive impact on their community through participation in cooking classes, workforce development workshops, the creation of goals to improve grades, study habits, sleep, and physical activity.

  • First Night Buffalo provided a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration with more than two hours of interactive activities and original performances available for free online with 93 percent of survey respondents noting they were satisfied with the event and 89 percent likely to recommend it to others.

The Independent Health Foundation works to improve the health and well-being of Western New York residents through awareness, prevention, education and other programs focused on community health priorities. For more information about the Independent Health Foundation’s activities, visit   

Back to the Archives

Look back on our past press releases and news stories.