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) Addressing the systemic causes of health outcomes and disparities.[+]
Funded partners intentionally work to improve long term health by shifting or realigning CONDITIONS (social, political, economic) so that communities have opportunities to thrive. The Fund has supported projects that include a mix of direct service and systemic change strategies, where the direct services build a constituency or a movement toward larger system change goals.
  • Projects will need to provide a clear definition of their systems change goal and strategies.
  • Systems change should address upstream social determinants of health in early life, educational attainment, and economic opportunity, rather than downstream services meant to mitigate problems after they have developed.
  • All of the KPCF Guiding Values should contribute towards systems change goals.

2) Promoting social and racial equity. [+]
Funded partners address institutional practices that improve the conditions of health and eliminate disparities within communities that have historically been oppressed.
  • Projects should focus on historically oppressed communities.
  • Equity should be built into multiple aspects of the organization: values, mission, program design, evaluation efforts, priorities and leadership.
  • Refer to NWHF’s Commitment to Equity:

3) Prioritizing community-driven strategies.[+]
Funded partners support community members in identifying the problem to be addressed, develop a plan of action, and implement a solution that drives changes.
  • Community members should include non-staff/non-board members, such as parents, families, youth, and elders, community engaged in programs, and those with lived experience.
  • Organizations should support community members to identify the problem, develop a plan of action, and implement solutions towards change.
  • The project should integrate community members into the work and leadership of the organization.

4) Promoting collaboration across diverse stakeholders.[+]
Funded partners create a broad table of stakeholders with different perspectives to identify and pursue common goals and objectives.
  • Projects should create a broad table of stakeholders with different perspectives to identify and pursue common goals and objectives.
  • Successful projects demonstrate this through diversity of partnerships and their commitment to the desired outcomes.

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 initiatives 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.
  • Community informed/responsive practices may be the best approach for your effort.
  • Evidence-based practice may or may not inform all communities' practices.

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.


A row of children in oversized t-shirts printed with the words "Buddy Walk" hold hands.


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.



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.

Little boy and woman playing with a colorful game.
People working in a field.


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.


Implementation Grants

We will only be offering Implementation Grants in 2016.

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 2016, a minimum of $5,000 must be set aside for evaluation-related work.)