Healthy Monadnock & Antioch University Receive $20,000 Grant to Study Impact of a Living Wage in the Region

KEENE, N.H. — Healthy Monadnock’s Living Wage Work Group and Antioch University New England were recently awarded a $20,000 Roadmaps Collaborative Learning grant, part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R), a program that is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The Healthy Monadnock partners were selected as a recipient because of their engagement with CHR&R and their demonstrated commitment to improving the health of everyone in the community. The grant money is earmarked for collaborative learning and dissemination activities that align with the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps’ goals and principles, namely Healthy Monadnock’s Living Wage Work Group’s interest in furthering their work in creating a living wage campaign in the region and state.

Monadnock Living Wage Work Group, a coalition of area businesses and organizations, has already recruited several early adopter employers to commit to paying workers a living wage of $15 an hour by the year 2020. These early adopters included W.S. Badger Company, Deep Roots Massage & Bodywork, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Keene Housing, The Insurance Source, Tree-Free Greetings, and Antioch University New England.

The grant money will enable the local group to branch out and align itself with state-wide organization efforts and with at least two other New Hampshire communities; it will also allow the group to assess interest and align itself with other state and local funders to advance living wages in the Monadnock Region and statewide.

“Research shows a strong correlation between higher wages and improved health outcomes,” said Linda Rubin, director of the Healthy Community Initiative and facilitator for the work group.

Per MLWWG’s local living wage calculator, an hourly wage less than $15 for a single adult is inadequate to maintain a safe and decent standard of living in the Monadnock Region and cannot sufficiently meet a person’s food, housing, transportation, healthcare, and personal care needs. When workers earn less than a living wage, Rubin added, personal health and employee productivity and retention are sacrificed.

“This generous grant provides the opportunity to build awareness, momentum, and support for advancing the understanding about the impact of living wages on health outcomes,” said Abigail Abrash Walton, director, Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability master’s concentration at Antioch University New England, who will head the project. “We look forward to shared learning within the Monadnock Region and with other communities in New Hampshire, and to sharing our project findings nationwide.”

About Antioch University New England

Founded in 1964, Antioch University New England (AUNE) offers fully accredited doctoral, master’s and certificate programs. All of AUNE’s graduate programs in psychology, education, environmental studies, and management require that students integrate practice with theory in an environment that fosters scholarship and activism. AUNE is one of the five campuses of Antioch University. For more information, visit: https://www.antioch.edu/new-england

Antioch University, a private, nonprofit, 501(c)3 institution, provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. Antioch University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Learn more at www.hlcommission.org

About Healthy Monadnock

Healthy Monadnock is a community engagement initiative designed to foster and sustain a positive culture of health throughout Cheshire County and the Monadnock Region. Founded and developed by the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2007, Healthy Monadnock’s action plans are being guided in the community by the Council for a Healthier Community, a group of 30+ individuals representing schools, organizations, coalitions and businesses. Community partners and Champions are working together to improve the quality of life and prevent the leading causes of death for everyone by implementing strategies to: increase healthy eating and active living; increase income and jobs; improve mental well-being, increase emergency preparedness, reduce substance misuse including tobacco, increase educational attainment and increase access and quality of healthcare. Learn more: www.healthymonadnock.org

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