Creating Healthier Communities With More Than $15.5 Million in Grants

Community grants pledged by Kaiser Permanente this fall focus on equitable care, educational and economic opportunity, and access to healthy food in underserved communities

Feature Story
Two young African American girls holding hands, and smiling as they run though a field.

The communities where people live, work or go to school — in some cases down to the ZIP code or block — play an important role in health.

That’s why Kaiser Permanente will award grants totaling more than $15.5 million in the coming months to community-based and national charitable organizations working to ensure access to care and improve the conditions for health in the communities Kaiser Permanente serves.

“As a nonprofit health system, a vital part of our mission is to improve community health,” said Cynthia Telles, PhD, Community Health Committee board chair. “Our goal in Community Health is to address the root causes of poor health and engage our communities in identifying priorities and solutions.”

Some of the organizations that Kaiser Permanente will fund include:

ProCureWorks, a project of Health Care Without Harm, will increase access to healthy, sustainable and regionally sourced food in schools and health care systems in California.

Maui Economic Development Board will expand STEM programming in schools and after-school programs to increase student interest and build career pathways for local youth in science, health care and technology fields.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Washington will hire a statewide Youth Outreach Coordinator and expand its peer-led Ending the Silence program to support mental health among students, teachers and parents in Washington state.

IRCO Africa House, an organization that provides culturally and linguistically specific services, will train African-American immigrants and refugees as community health workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

“We know health is about more than health care,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s chief community health officer. “We know food and activity play a critical role in health, and access to economic opportunity and education provides a foundation for healthy living. These grants are part of Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to improve all aspects of our communities’ health.”

Quarterly community grants such as these are part of the contributions that Kaiser Permanente makes each year to serve those most in need, collaborate to improve the conditions for health and equity in the communities it serves and apply technology to create community-based solutions. In 2017, Kaiser Permanente contributed more than $2.8 billion to improve health and wellness in communities across the country.