Remembering Reverend Foley
On July 24, 2021, a portion of Grand Ave near the corner of 190th street in the Bronx, opposite the Cosmopolitan Church of the Lord Jesus, was renamed Pastor Robert Lewis Foley, Sr., Way. Reverend Foley was a longtime collaborator and champion for the Institute’s Bronx Health REACH program, who passed away in 2019. We were so fortunate to have had Reverend Foley as a leader in our work promoting health equity for almost 20 years.
When the Institute received funding in 1999 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead a project to eliminate racial disparities in health outcomes, which grew into Bronx Health REACH, Reverend Foley was one of the first community leaders to champion our cause. Under Reverend Foley’s leadership and collaboration in our communities, Bronx Health REACH ultimately became a grassroots effort committed to advocating for a truly equitable health care system. He understood that to achieve that we needed to engage both the community and our elected representatives.
Over the years, Reverend Foley participated in numerous committees and events, always lending his unique perspective on economic and political realities mixed with history and faith. He never said no when we asked him to participate in a meeting or a panel, and he often leveraged his personal, political and professional connections to support our work. He invited, then challenged and cajoled others to become actively involved, reminding his colleagues that efforts to address racial and ethnic health disparities were long overdue.
We were so lucky to have Reverend Foley in our corner for as long as we did. His words and actions changed our lives, and the lives of countless others, and we miss him dearly. We are so proud to have shared in his work and now, the dedication of this street in his name.