The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund (KPCF) has awarded more than $2.5 million in grant funds to 20 organizations that improve health in Oregon and southwest Washington. Awarded annually, these grants address the “upstream” or underlying factors that impact community health.
Within the context of health care reform and improved health, the fund currently focuses on three specific social determinants of health: healthy beginnings and early childhood development, educational attainment and economic opportunity. These focus areas were selected for their ability to build on community momentum and their potential for long-term impact.
“For too many of us, conditions where we’re born, learn and live limit our choices and our opportunity to be healthy,” said Nichole Maher, president of Northwest Health Foundation. “The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund supports organizations that are tackling these conditions in innovative ways that are driven by the very communities they seek to impact. We’re honored to support exactly this kind of work.”
“Healthy people and communities depend on more than the care they get through medical offices and hospitals—good health starts where we live, work and play,” added Sue Hennessy, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Health Plan Services at Kaiser Permanente Northwest. “Prevention and early intervention work. Investing in communities is essential to improving the health of our population today and making health care more affordable in the long run.”
Each project selected for a KPCF grant seeks to make measurable improvements in health for individuals and families, while also improving the long-term health of communities. Projects range from creating opportunities for people with disabilities to enter the workforce, expanding educational programs for Latino youth and families in Washington County, Oregon, to creating healthier beginnings for children in Cowlitz County, Washington.