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Building power for Kids & Families. 

Working together, we can improve childhood health by 2020. Northwest Health Foundation’s Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities initiative will help communities build power for kids and families.


Click to enlarge. Our initiative is guided by our principles, mission and commitment to health. It is informed by research and communities' lived experiences. 

It's simple: healthy childhoods build healthy communities, and healthy communities build healthy childhoods.

A safe, healthy childhood sets the stage for lifelong health. But no child raises themself. Families and communities play a critical role in setting a child up for success. That's why they are best suited to lead the way to better health.

Northwest Health Foundation knows that when families and communities work together to get there, Oregon and Southwest Washington children will be healthier. We have seen individual communities make big improvements for their kids' health. We're ready to see it happen for our whole region.




Support communities that want to work together to take their place at the decision-making table.


Lift up and expand proven programs.


Help communities develop the skills and tools to advocate for systems change.



Click to enlarge. HB+HC measures health at key transitions in childhood: birth, kindergarten readiness, and high school readiness. 

We will work with the Community Collaboratives to determine meaningful measures for Building Power for Kids & Families. This will include measuring community capacity through engaged, connected leaders, as well as shared knowledge and analysis that inform community-specific and region-wide action. Together, we will also demonstrate we can improve childhood health through community engagement and collaborative action, and decide together how we want to tell our story and how we will know when we have made an impact.

There are many ways to reach these goals. As a jumping off point, we created a big picture tool we call the Health Compass (shown here). The Health Compass marks health milestones at key transition points in childhood, including healthy birth, kindergarten readiness and high school readiness.

Since launching Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities in 2014, our thinking about this initiative has evolved. We still see health as more than healthcare, including social, mental, spiritual and physical dimensions. However, our focus has shifted. We still aim to improve childhood health. With the guidance of the HB+HC Collaboratives, we've determined the best way to reach this goal is through building power. To us, that looks like developing community leaders, changing policies, and advising and becoming decision makers and elected officials.