Foundations taking hands-on approach to health

DETROIT — Some nonprofit foundations have decided to take a hands-on approach to getting Michigan residents off their couches and into the world of active, healthy living.

In addition to awarding grants, The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Knight Foundation have joined forces for a project called Mode Shift, which seeks to encourage people to bike, walk and do other activities to improve their well-being.

This year, the Community Foundation launched a new website, . Eventually, the site will contain trail maps, information about bike-friendly retailers and a debate forum on all manner of topics related to outdoor activity. It currently has links to legal and education resources and news updates.

Mode Shift also sponsors events such as the annual Tour de Troit bike ride through Detroit.

Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation, told the Detroit Free Press that Mode Shift marks an attempt by her organization to more directly promote healthy lifestyles, instead of simply writing checks to health-related groups.

“You’ve got to do something to get people out and active,” Noland said. She said Mode Shift as “our first major venture in seeing how we can use these tools to change behavior.” She added, “Hopefully it will be a huge, huge, huge success because that may impact how we do our work in the future.”



About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit