Jacob Dixon

Jacob Dixon
Location: Roosevelt, New York Cohort Start Year: 2019 Project Topics: Community/Civic Engagement, Early Childhood, Economic Stability, Employment, Environmental Justice, Food Systems and Nutrition, Leadership Development, Public, Population and Community Health, Social Sector/Non-Profit Populations Served: Adults (21-64 years), At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Children (6-11 years), Children and Families, Low-Income Communities, Older Adults (65+), Young Children (0-5 years)
Choice for All

Jacob Dixon lives and works in Roosevelt, a 1-square-mile suburban community on Long Island, New York—where the average life expectancy is close to nine years less than the community next door. Jacob’s work is centered on elevating the work, stories, and impact of suburban health equity led by and for youth and families in communities of color on Long Island. As he believes a ZIP code should not be a determinant factor of one’s health, Jacob founded Choice for All, a social justice nonprofit with a mission to collaboratively solve issues around health, education, and community development to ensure well-being, especially with the most vulnerable. Utilizing strategies of collective impact, coordinated services, community organizing, and community-based participatory research, Jacob works on the ground with residents to ensure their voices are heard and provide strategy in advocating for change.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Implementing the Local Foods, Local Places Model in Roosevelt, Long Island, for Comprehensive Redevelopment
Roosevelt is a one-square-mile community on Long Island, with 96 percent of residents being Black or Latinx. Located in one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., the community has been impacted by racial isolation and marginalization, resulting in inequitable access to the social determinants of health. This includes but is not limited to food access, walkability, and economic stability. Residents cited some of the root causes in focus groups conducted by my organization: lack of economic development, physical spaces, incomplete streets, walkability, and access to healthy food options, with 37 corner stores. With a USDA food desert designation, one-third of single-head households with low wealth, and a 60 percent obesity rate among middle school students, residents are calling for collective action to build an equitable and innovative response. Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) is a national model supporting community-driven processes in revitalizing local food systems, reinvesting downtowns, and improving physical built environments. My organization will serve as the lead agency of cross-sector collaboration to drive an LFLP model in Roosevelt through a three-phase process of building sustainable pathways of healthy food access, economic development, income stability, and open spaces.

Jacob’s experience as a child with a learning disability inspired his current work as a teacher, child advocate, and social impact strategist working toward education and health equity. Bridging close to 15 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership, teaching, and community organizing, Jacob’s lifelong commitment of work is two-fold: creating spaces for youth and families to grow from residents to leaders and working with systems to ensure they adequately respond to the needs of youth and families.

Click here to watch Jacob’s Legacy Project video.