The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund:
Focusing on where health begins.

The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation is a twelve-year, sunset fund with a mission to improve the health of communities throughout the Kaiser Permanente Northwest service region, with a specific focus on addressing the “upstream” factors that create or inhibit community health, also known as the social determinants of health. 

Five Guiding Values

The KPCF Advisors have affirmed the following five guiding values that continue to guide the work of KPCF for all three focus areas. These values include:

1) Promoting social and racial equity. [+]
Promoting social and racial equity is a core value guiding the work of KPCF. Equity is both the means to healthy communities and an end that benefits us all. Put simply, we cannot achieve our goal of a healthier region without improving health equity.

2) Prioritizing community-driven strategies.[+]
Communities are the best advocates for their own health. They should drive changes in health, because they hold the best answers to do so. Interventions are most successful when affected communities have identified their particular barriers to health and equity, the resources to be mobilized, the roles of each partner and the goals to be achieved.

3) Promoting social cohesion across diverse groups.[+]
Social cohesion builds the bonds of community, lifts up the voices of those who have been marginalized and creates opportunities to identify and pursue common goals and objectives. Promoting social cohesion across diverse groups is both a strategy to achieve specific goals, as well as an end in itself.

4) Addressing the systematic causes of health outcomes and disparities.[+]
The Fund is committed to addressing the social determinants of health, rather than addressing services meant to mitigate problems after they have developed. Supporting community partners to remove systematic barriers to health not only achieves the most leverage for sustained health benefits, but also builds collective leadership and power that can be applied toward a host of social benefits. The Fund has supported programs that include a mix of direct service and systematic change strategies, where the direct services build a constituency or a movement toward achieving the larger systematic change goals.

5) A strategic and appropriate application of evidence.[+]
The Fund's three focus areas address factors that have been clearly shown to affect health. While we have applied an evidence-based lens to the types of initiative we support, we also support communities' ability to develop their own strategies to reach these goals. Promising and emerging practices help to expand the evidence base for effective strategies to improve population health and equity.

Three Focus Areas

The Fund has chosen to target investments in three areas with great potential for social change. These three areas--early life, educational attainment and economic opportunity--are supported by a strong evidence base and present significant opportunities for long-term impact. They are interrelated and reinforce each other.

 

Nw Down Syndrome Association

Nw Down Syndrome Association

EARLY LIFE

The Fund will help ensure that children, families and communities have the best opportunities to thrive. The Fund seeks to reduce health disparities as early in life as possible by strengthening the foundations of health and the community capacity to influence these conditions. The Fund’s investments will stimulate and enable communities to pursue wrap-around, culturally responsive and socio-ecological approaches to prenatal and early childhood policies and interventions.

 

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

The Fund will support initiatives that ensure that 100% of youth will graduate from high school and will be ready for college and careers. The Fund will support and expand efforts to ensure that parents, youth, families, communities, schools and policy makers are working together to eliminate barriers to educational achievement. These investments will result in policy, systemic and institutional culture change that reflects the belief that every child can succeed.

Playworks

Playworks

 
Craft3

Craft3

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

The Fund will invest in populations disproportionately impacted by poverty so that we can transform today’s inequalities into quality of life for all families and communities. The Fund’s investments will generate opportunities for community-driven solutions to align and partner with larger economic development efforts that support sustainable, living wage jobs and entrepreneurship. The Fund will also invest in strategies that utilize the strengths of our diversity and that build social cohesion among stakeholders as an equally important outcome.

 

Two Grants

Organizations interested in applying for KPCF should determine which type of grant is appropriate for their work.

CAPACITY-BUILDING GRANTS [+]
Capacity-Building Grants support projects in their early stages of planning or piloting. They are appropriate for organizations that need time to develop their partnerships and strategies; are building their expertise in the field; are still refining how their work would improve community health and equity; and/or need to engage with their community to develop their goals, strategies and tactics. Capacity-Building grants are awarded up to $50,000 for up to 18 months.


IMPLEMENTATION GRANTS [+]
Implementation Grants support projects that are more fully conceived or already started. They are appropriate for organizations (or multi-sectoral collaborations of several organizations) that are ready to implement a defined plan of action, with goals and outcomes. Implementation grants are awarded up to $200,000 for up to three years. (For implementation projects awarded in 2015, a minimum of $5,000 must be set aside for evaluation-related work.)