Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions we receive about the Healthy Parkinson’s Communities initiative. Have a question we didn’t answer? Contact us at

About the Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ Initiative

What is the Healthy Parkinson’s Communities initiative?

Healthy Parkinson’s Communities (HPC) is an initiative designed and led by the Davis Phinney Foundation to help support community leaders, volunteers, and advocates in making the places we live, work, and play more inclusive and supportive for those living with Parkinson’s. Under the HPC “umbrella,” individual programs work in collaboration to improve community health. These programs include the Community Network, Community Grants, and Ambassador Leadership Program.

What is a healthy Parkinson’s community?

Imagine living in a community where Parkinson’s leadership is strong. Where everyone living with Parkinson’s has access to quality care, support, and resources so they can live well with Parkinson’s every day. Where people affected by Parkinson’s have a sense of belonging and purpose, feel seen and supported, and are engaged in civic life. And where having a great quality of life, despite having a chronic illness, is prioritized by all. This is the reality we hope to help create in communities across the US and Canada. 

What is the role of the Davis Phinney Foundation in this work?

Our role is to help create an environment where community-led change can flourish. We do this by curating and creating tools, convening various advocacy groups, making introductions, and providing resources, including funding, staff support, educational materials, and more. Our goal is to let communities take the lead and to be there when you need a peer, coach, mentor, or new connection to help you go further than you could alone.

Can I make a donation to and/or sponsor this work?

Of course! We are always looking for like-minded individuals and companies to support this important work. We also encourage you to explore our communities and partners to discover local and regional groups that can benefit from your financial support and/or volunteerism.

Please contact Davis Phinney Foundation Director of Development, Rich Cook at to learn more about getting involved.

About the Community Network and Community Action Committees (CACs)

What size communities are a good fit for this initiative?

We created the Healthy Parkinson’s Communities initiative to help inspire and support communities of any size–from neighborhoods to states–working to change how people live with Parkinson’s. 

What is a Community Action Committee (CAC)?

Our CACs are made up of people who are interested in making their Parkinson’s community better. Members of a CAC may include but are not limited to business leaders, doctors, professors, care partners, local Parkinson’s organizations, people with Parkinson’s, allied health professionals, college students, politicians, empty nesters, or advocates. They care about health disparities, access to healthcare, quality of life, social connections, and living well. And they have the time, desire, and drive to make change happen for their Parkinson’s community. 

Who can start a CAC?

Anyone with the passion, time, and desire to make a difference for people living with Parkinson’s can start and/or lead a CAC. No formal community organizing experience is required. Starting a CAC is much like building a highly effective team in the workforce, but with super volunteers focused on improving your community. People with backgrounds in management, teaching, program design, non-profits, and more have successfully started and led CACs.

What kind of resources are available to communities who register?

There are many. We provide resources to all types of communities, from rural to urban and everything in between. While not exhaustive, here are some of the resources we provide: 

  • Professional development and leadership training 
  • Resources to help you take on the work of organizing, collecting data, setting goals, and making them happen  
  • Introductions and connections to peers across North America who are working through similar issues so you can share ideas, successes, and tools  
  • A national platform to bring attention to your work, success stories, and achievements  
  • Opportunities to apply for funding to help you tackle access, health literacy, Parkinson’s awareness, and more through our Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ grants program  
  • Tools and training to help you set a vision and goals for your CAC  
  • A peer and advocate from the Davis Phinney Foundation you can call on when you need help to solve a problem, make a connection, or keep your train moving when times get tough 
If I (we) decide to join this initiative, what will our community look like in a year, three years, 10 years?

In a year we hope your community will have a solid CAC in place and the community assessments you have completed have provided you with a great plan for tackling some of your biggest issues. 

In three years, we hope your community either has or is on track to have better access to: 

  • Quality Parkinson’s care for everyone 
  • Support services and support groups that accommodate all those who need them 
  • A central location, physical or digital or both, where everyone affected by Parkinson’s knows where to go to get information on exercise classes, healthcare providers, complementary therapy providers, transportation and housing options, and more 
  • Data on what’s working and what’s not  
  • Strategic plans for growth 

In 10 years, we hope your community is a model to others and that you pay it forward by sharing your stories, lessons learned, and advice to other communities that are on the same path. 

About Community Grants

Do I have to be a nonprofit to receive grant funding?

Non-profit status is not required to apply. We know many great individuals and groups are not formally associated with nonprofit organizations doing essential work in their communities. Therefore, we do not require nonprofit status to award programs aligned with our mission and grant priorities. Contact the Foundation’s Community Grant Manager, Kayla Ferguson, at for more information on applying.  

Do I have to have an academic partnership to receive grant funding?

We do not require that individuals or nonprofits have an academic partnership to receive grant funding.  

Is there a cap on the funds that can be requested?

We have limited funds available each year for our community grant program. We aim to fund as many initiatives as possible with this amount while remaining thoughtful and ensuring we don’t prioritize quantity over meeting the real financial needs of this complex work. As such, we encourage applicants to address the full financial needs of their program/project while keeping our funding limits in mind. In previous grant cycles, grant applications that ranged from $25,000-$60,000 in scope, were well developed, and fit within the funding constraints of the Foundation have had the best chance of success. 

Is there a will or won’t fund list?

You may download this list of Community Grant projects we are likely and unlikely to fund to learn more. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and is meant only to provide general examples. If you have a project you are unsure about, complete our interest form so we can offer you guidance before submitting an application. 

Are there restrictions around what grant monies can and cannot go toward?

We do not have specific restrictions on fund allocation and are open to covering fees associated with program research and implementation, including staffing, marketing, technology, etc. We know that financial needs can vary, and we trust our applicants to tell us what their greatest needs are. Throughout the grant cycle, should you be awarded, we will schedule check-ins to ensure both the Foundation and the grant recipient are on the same page about using funds.  

Can I apply for two grants?

Currently, we only accept one application per person/organization each cycle. 

Can I apply for multiple projects within one application?

Technically, yes. However, we encourage applicants to be thoughtful with this approach. Having two projects within one application that build off one another over a specified number of months is preferred over having two different, unconnected projects included in a single application.  

If I applied last year, can I apply again?

Absolutely. We encourage applicants with an ongoing project that needs continued funding and applicants who have completed a project and are looking for funding for something new to reapply with us each year. 

What happens if my project goals or activities deviate from my application during the year?

Because of the priority areas our grant program aims to fund and the intricacies involved in addressing systemic issues related to Parkinson’s, we understand that programs and projects might evolve over the course of a funding period. That’s ok! All we ask is to be kept in the loop about the status and direction of your funded initiative. Who knows, the learnings that are changing your project’s direction might be valuable to share with other communities around the country.  

Can I apply in partnership with multiple groups or organizations?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage it. One of our four priority areas for this grant program is cross-sector collaboration, so multiple group/organization partnerships are certainly something we would celebrate when reading a grant application.    

About the Ambassador Leadership Program

What do Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassadors do?

Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassadors play a key role in creating Healthy Parkinson’s Communities by acting as advocates, mentors, health navigators, educators, facilitators, and much more.

We recognize the breadth and depth of experience, skillset, and knowledge each individual brings to our Foundation. Because of this, we have built structure to support this aspect of living well at an individual level, while allowing for flexibility to capitalize on these unique strengths and community needs. Here are just a few ways our Ambassadors serve their communities: 

  • Present about the Davis Phinney Foundation and our philosophy of living well with Parkinson’s at local support group meetings and attend events on behalf of the Foundation
  • Meet with families who are newly diagnosed and build relationships with instructors of Parkinson’s-specific classes
  • Assist the Davis Phinney Foundation in developing educational information focused on certain aspects of living well with Parkinson’s
  • Work with various healthcare and helping professionals on providing resources and connecting with individuals
  • Work with local governments to raise awareness for important Parkinson’s policy and support 
  • And much more!
How do I become an Ambassador?

We are always looking to welcome new Ambassadors. The best candidates are passionate about our mission to help people with Parkinson’s live well, are active in their community, are drawn to connect with more individuals, and are eager to meet and engage with others across the US and Canada. If this sounds like you or someone you know, we encourage you to apply! If you are interested in joining the program, all you have to do is fill out our application form. Once your application is reviewed, you will be contacted by the program manager about conducting a phone interview. 

Can I share my program/information with the Ambassador cohort?

The Davis Phinney Foundation is very careful about how we share or endorse products/programs both to respect our volunteers and audience and to respect our corporate partner relationships. If you have a resource or opportunity you would like to share with our Ambassadors, please provide details to us with this form, and we will share it with our team to evaluate the opportunity, appropriate channels, and approach for partnership. 

Can an Ambassador speak at my event?

Many of our Ambassadors are happy to speak to your local support group or event about their experiences with Parkinson’s and the philosophy of the Davis Phinney Foundation. If you are interested in having an Ambassador speak to your group, please reach out to us at and be sure to include information about the event or meeting and if there’s a specific Ambassador you are hoping to have speak. While our Ambassadors are volunteering their personal time, we will try our best to get someone to present to your group!