Founded in 1998, WALKSacramento serves six counties in the Greater Sacramento region with a mission of improving health equity in the built environment.
“Our work is focused in institutionally underserved communities with a strong emphasis on active transportation,” says Kiara Reed, executive director. “Working closely with other advocates, planners, health professionals and youth, we help communities to achieve healthy built environments through education, advocacy and capacity building.”
This nonprofit organization works to ensure that policies, practices and planning initiatives are rooted in community voices and priorities. “There are systemic inequities in the built environment that have disproportionately and negatively impacted these communities,” Reed says. “Our goal is to co-create neighborhoods and communities where people can easily, safely and sustainably get where they need to go.
WALKSacramento is currently collaborating with the Sacramento County Department of Public Health on a Safe Routes to Parks and Healthy Retail initiative in North and South Sacramento to improve health through active travel to healthy destinations. The organization is already known for its Safe Routes to School work and for conducting walk audits, a method of analyzing active transportation safety and accessibility in an area.
“Our goal is to co-create neighborhoods and communities where people can easily, safely and sustainably get where they need to go.” — Kiara Reed, Executive Director
“Understanding how infrastructure and community design affect safety and overall health is a driving force for us,” Reed says. “Low-income communities and communities of color cope with the most environmental justice issues that impact community members’ access to healthy resources, schools and jobs and, ultimately, their lifespan. We give these communities a voice.”
Honing its strategic plan, WALKSacramento is prioritizing youth development and engagement. Reed says, “Solving environmental justice, climate and built environment issues is ongoing work, so we take a multigenerational approach, developing young activists and advocates who understand the issues and can take on future leadership roles.”
Contact WALKSacramento to learn how you can help them improve lives as they improve the built environment.