( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) LISC NYC and Community Non-Profit WHEDco’s New Partnership with Peloton Revolutionizes Health and Wellness
ENSPIRE Contributor: Keegan Kerns
Over the past year, we’ve seen more and more cases of racial injustice while COVID-19 has kept us locked up, limiting our connections and often impacting our health. However, with support from Peloton in collaboration with LISC NYC and WHEDco, two organizations with focuses on building healthy and affordable housing across New York, these groups will be able to transform 2,450 sq. ft. area in Bronx Commons into a fully developed fitness space equipped with Peloton equipment and programming.
LISC NYC’s expertise as a nonprofit working for the closing of racial health, wealth, and opportunity gaps combined with The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation, or WHEDco, which focuses more on Black-led affordable housing and community development, creates an incredibly well-informed and targeted force that knows how to properly use the funds and materials provided by Peloton’s investment to maximize its benefit towards community members, providing the opportunity for a healthier lifestyle to many and encouraging many others to begin it once again as the pandemic slowly dies down.
We had the opportunity to speak with individuals at LISC NYC to learn more about their goals and mission for the project.
How did LISC NYC and Peloton initially get in touch about this project, and how has it been working with them?
LISCY NYC and our partner WHEDco partner with Peloton to activate a new fitness space in their Bronx Commons housing development with Peloton equipment and programming. Together, we will establish a dynamic center for health and wellness that will help encourage a healthy, active lifestyle across neighborhoods in the Bronx. Through this partnership, we’re working to empower individuals experiencing systemic inequities by creating avenues of access to physical and mental wellbeing.
Similarly, were there any difficulties in incorporating WHEDco into this process simply because of the scale of the project, or were they a more natural fit in terms of methods and objectives?
WHEDco is a longstanding community partner with whom we have a thriving long-term relationship. This Black-led affordable housing developer and community development organization is a trusted resource for families throughout the Bronx, founded on the idea that all people deserve healthy, vibrant communities.
How do you think the final collaboration with Peloton in the Bronx Commons will create good in the community?
Health is the foundation of a vibrant, growing, and prosperous community. There are systemic barriers to health and wellness in far too many Black, brown, and Latino communities across the five boroughs, and this partnership with Peloton will help tear down those barriers for neighborhoods in the Bronx. Establishing health and wellness opportunities for Bronx residents will help bridge the access gap and improve health outcomes for disadvantaged New Yorkers.
Do you think an exercise and wellness project like this will be effective after what seems like a lifetime in lockdown? In essence, has a project like this become more necessary due to the COVID-19 era?
Like other aspects of inequity, a lack of access to health and wellness opportunities was exacerbated for many historically disadvantaged communities during the pandemic. This project established through a partnership between Peloton and LISC NYC is particularly timely as New York City starts and continues its efforts towards recovery.
What steps or projects would you like to be involved in after this one in order to continue building a better Bronx and other New York neighborhoods?
LISC NYC is always working towards closing the racial wealth gap in historically Black, brown, and Latino neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
In the midst of the pandemic, LISC NYC deployed more than $13 million in PPP loans to New York City non-profits and small businesses in the most vulnerable communities and deployed an additional $2.5 million in grants to more than 180 small businesses — preserving almost 900 jobs, mostly for businesses with eight or fewer employees.
As we continue to support the minority-owned small business community and BIPOC New Yorkers through the challenges created by the pandemic, and the inequities that were made more acute, we will continue to operate on the frontlines to make sure that the supports, assistance, resources, and relief are provided to the communities who need it most.
Although Peloton’s investment in the Bronx is not the only one in its personal fight against racial injustice and inequity, its collaboration with LISC and WHEDco has enabled its statements and donations to go beyond just vague words and blanket statements and instead contribute to real non-profit companies that are well-versed in the issues that plague their communities and how to best address them. This way, the racial injustice and inequality that these communities face can be truly addressed as they are provided some of just the basic opportunities that other groups are given, such as the opportunity to more easily access a healthy lifestyle. Especially important as we come out of a dormant period for many due to COVID-19, this fitness center in the Bronx should be an important step to improving the livelihoods of many who would otherwise not have much exposure to such a type of gym.
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