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Health Foundation of South Florida President & CEO Steven Marcus was recently selected to receive a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/National Recreation and Park Association Award for Health Equity by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The award will be publicly presented during a special reception at the 2016 NRPA Annual Conference in St. Louis on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Each year, NRPA National Awards are presented to five individuals and five agencies across the U.S. to honor their efforts—both professional and personal—in the field of parks and recreation. Recipients are selected from a pool of applicants by NRPA’s National Awards and Scholarship Committee, and are chosen for excellence in a variety of topics, including professional and voluntary service, programming, leadership, research and public outreach.

The award recognizes efforts to promote health equity. According to Marcus, “I define healthy equity as reaching people where they are and giving them what they need to thrive and be well.” He added, “This includes the social, economic and environmental conditions across our society’s population.”

According to Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Director Jack Kardys, “Through his role as president & CEO of Health Foundation of South Florida, a nonprofit grantmaking organization, Steven Marcus guides investments and initiatives to promote a culture for health equity, especially for our county’s most vulnerable residents.” He added, “He and the Foundation collaborated with the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (PROS) to advance complete streets, age friendly parks, outdoor fitness equipment, safe routes to parks, safe routes to aging in place and established a health and community design element within the Miami-Dade County Comprehensive Development Master Plan.”

Complete Streets fosters active commuting by providing pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation users with safe and convenient access to transportation. The Age-Friendly Initiative works to ensure the implementation of age-friendly modifications in policies and guidelines, such as: the Open Space Master Plan; Comprehensive Development Master Plan’s Community Health and Design; the Transportation, Land Use Elements; as well as the Long Range Transportation Plan. The policy modifications will shift the aging in place paradigm by enabling safe, attractive, and comfortable open space access and travel for commuters of all ages and abilities.

“NRPA is pleased to honor our nation’s park and recreation heroes—agencies and individuals who work tirelessly and with passion to improve the lives of their citizens and make their communities great,” said Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA.

A full list of NRPA National Award winners is available at www.nrpa.org/nationalawards.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of more than 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit ParksAndRecreation.org.

Health Foundation of South Florida, a nonprofit organization, improves health through community investments for health promotion and preventive services. With leadership and effective partnerships on a national, state and local level, the Foundation advances the ability of residents in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties to lead healthier lives. Since its founding in 1993, the Foundation has worked with more than 400 organizations and awarded over $115 million. For more information, please call 305.374.7200 or visit www.hfsf.org