AmeriCorps VISTA Rises Through Ranks to Become Project Director of Healthier Jupiter

West Palm Beach, Fla.– Joanna Peluso has been appointed to the position of project director for Healthier Jupiter, a Palm Health Foundation Healthier Together initiative.  Peluso will lead the place-based initiative to address the Jupiter community’s most complex health issues by convening community members and organization leaders to promote healthy eating and active living opportunities.

Peluso’s career trajectory with Healthier Jupiter has been on a steady and rapid rise beginning as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2017 and moving up to outreach coordinator in 2018 and project manager in 2019. Her experience, combined with a degree in sociology, has prepared Peluso well to take on her new role as leader of the initiative. 

Peluso’s Healthier Jupiter achievements to-date include leading the implementation, analysis and reporting of a community health assessment to identify priority health needs and collaborating with local leaders to advocate for policy, systems and environment changes.  As project director, Peluso will continue to drive transformative change as defined by community members and committee volunteers and in partnership with Jupiter Medical Center. 

Peluso will also lead Healthier Jupiter’s signature Mini Grant program to fund innovative projects that have measurable health impact. The grants fund pilot ideas in four focus areas: increasing the availability and affordability of fresh, healthy foods; helping individuals become more physically active on a regular basis; encouraging people to engage mentally and physically to practice healthy behaviors; and supporting changes in the built environment and community policies that promote equitable opportunities for healthy living.

“The last three years have been deeply rewarding as I have watched Healthier Jupiter become a catalyst for encouraging residents to live healthier lives and create innovative programs to help others do the same,” said Peluso.  “I am passionate about elevating the community's voice. Palm Health Foundation has created a platform to help me do that through Healthier Jupiter.”

Peluso’s passion for community health and advocacy were evident in positions she held prior to becoming Healthier Jupiter’s project director. She served as community impact evaluator as an AmeriCorps VISTA for El Sol in Jupiter and helped draft the West Palm Beach Mayor’s Village Initiative Action Plan. Peluso’s Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an Interdisciplinary Concentration in Environmental Studies from The College of New Jersey has also been beneficial to her in her role as she works to support health communities in a variety of ways.


“Joanna’s extraordinary dedication and talent made her the perfect person to take on the project director position,” said Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation.  “She is already a trusted voice in the Jupiter community, and we know she will continue to be a force for healthy living for all residents.”

Healthier Jupiter is funded by Palm Health Foundation as a Healthier Together community, a long-term, place-based funding approach designed to solve a community’s most complex healthcare issues, neighborhood by neighborhood.  The foundation launched Healthier Together in 2013 and is committed to investing a collective $6 million in six Healthier Together communities over five years across Palm Beach County in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, North West Palm Beach/Riviera Beach, Jupiter and the Glades.

About Palm Health Foundation 
Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. The foundation supports health equity for Palm Beach County residents of all backgrounds, heritage, education, incomes and states of well-being. Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $83 million in Palm Beach County health since 2001. For more information about Palm Health Foundation, visit or call (561) 833-6333.