The Heart of Brown County Project was made possible through a federal grant to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF). The grant was a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Community Transformation Grants (CTG) to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities and control health care spending in small communities. The funds are designed to support areas with fewer than 500,000 people. MHIF and Brown County Public Health used the funding over a two-year period to expand two elements of Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project countywide. Specifically, the Heart of Brown County worked to:
1) Promote increased physical activity levels of county residents by educating residents on the health, economic and safety benefits associated with Complete Streets.
2) Expand HONU’s SWAP IT to DROP IT campaign to Sleepy Eye and Springfield. The campaign helped people make small changes (SWAPs) every day that assisted them in losing weight and improving their health. The original campaign in New Ulm ran from September 2012 to April 2013 and partnered with five convenience stores, two grocery stores and 13 restaurants. The campaign was expanded to five convenience stores and two grocery store in the Sleepy Eye and Springfield communities through Heart of Brown County.