First Quarter Funding Includes Focus on Expanding Access to Healthy Food, Activities, Health Care and Education
OAKLAND, Calif. ??? Kaiser Permanente, one of America???s leading health care providers and nonprofit health plans, announced today it approved more than 250 grants and donations nationwide totaling approximately $7 million in the first quarter of 2010. The grants focused on expanding access to nutritious food, providing safe spaces for all ages to increase physical activity, increasing opportunities for continuing education, and eliminating health disparities.
???Combating obesity through access to good food and safe neighborhood activities is important to good health, as is quality health care,??? said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy, Kaiser Permanente. ???Our continued commitment to our communities, as illustrated with our participation in the Partnership for a Healthier America and our contribution to MAZON of Los Angeles is to provide the resources and tools for people of all ages to lead healthy lives.???
Kaiser Permanente???s contributions nationwide in the first quarter of 2010 included, but were not limited to, grants in the categories below:
Promoting Healthy Communities
Kaiser Permanente contributed seed funding and is a founding member of the Partnership for a Healthier America, an initiative supporting first lady Michelle Obama???s pledge to curb the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Kaiser Permanente joined four other health funders to launch this initiative and provide support to the new organization.
MAZON of Los Angeles, a national nonprofit organization that allocates donations from the Jewish community to prevent and alleviate hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds, is the recipient of $618,010 over 29 months for the Healthy Options, Healthy Meals program. The goal of the program, which will be implemented nationally, is to increase access to nutritious and balanced meals to approximately 7 million people through organizational changes in food banks and food pantries reflecting an increased focus on the link between food insecurity and obesity.
Kaiser Permanente approved a $500,000 grant to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District???s Students of Promise program. Formerly Governor Ted Strickland???s Closing the Achievement Gap program, Students of Promise is dedicated to providing guidance and available resources to help ninth grade students develop expectations of self and raise their educational standards. Special attention is focused on student promotion to the 10th grade, preparing students for the Ohio Graduation Test, and supporting test-taking skills and high school graduation.
Kaiser Permanente allocated $250,000 to the city of Los Angeles for the Operation Splash Aquatic Program. Goals of the program are threefold: to teach youth ages 7 through 17 to swim, to provide Junior Lifeguard training to 780 children, and to extend the Department of Recreation and Parks summer season for one week at seven city pools. The program makes city swimming pools open to all Los Angeles residents, regardless of income.
The Community Health Partnership is the recipient of a $139,000, two-year grant for a Health Impact Assessment of urban planning in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood of southeast Portland, Ore., which is one of the city???s most underserved and rapidly diversifying neighborhoods. Results of the HIA will be used to convince the city???s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to include health as a consideration in the city???s comprehensive plan, which could eventually guide planning for parks and access to fresh produce through farmers markets in the neighborhood.
Ecotrust of Portland is the recipient of $140,000 over three years toward the organization???s Healthy Foods for Health Kids and Communities program. Funding will be used to connect school food purchasers with local farmers and producers so the producers can better understand school-specific needs. The program also will assist school districts in promoting local agriculture in cafeterias and classrooms.
Holy Cross Hospital of Maryland is the recipient of $161,040 for its Senior Fit program. The program targets seniors in socioeconomic areas that may otherwise not have access to exercise programs, especially those that focus on upper- and lower-body strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.
Expanding Safety Net Access
The Integrated Recovery Network of Los Angeles County is the recipient of $250,000 over two years to expand the capacity of its Homeless Services Collaboration. The grant funding will be used to increase the number of homeless individuals the IRN assists through the provision of coordinated care and placements into permanent supportive housing. Grant funds also will help the agency build its internal fund development capacity.
Careers in Health Care
Kaiser Permanente has awarded $120,000 to the Health Professions Education Foundation for the Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program. The program was developed in 1993 to encourage allied health professionals to practice direct patient care in California???s medically underserved areas. Health professional students receiving Kaiser Permanente-funded AHSP scholarships must commit to practicing a minimum of one to three years in medically underserved areas.
Eliminating Health Disparities
The Center for Intercultural Organizing of Oregon is the recipient of a $225,000 grant over three years to support the Pan-Refugee and Immigrant Social Movement-Building project. The organization strives to implement a comprehensive plan for engaging immigrants and refugees into civic life, and training emerging local leaders through skill-building workshops and community organizing events.
Kaiser Permanente funded The Children???s Institute of Oregon with $200,000 over three years for the Essential Investments in the First Five Years program. The funding will enable The Children???s Institute to add prenatal and early childhood health education, policy, and advocacy planning to their previous work to support at-risk preschoolers through Head Start Pre-Kindergarten.
The Fair Share Research and Education Fund of Oregon will receive $300,000 over three years for its People of Color Collaborative. Funding will enable Fair Share and its coalition partners to address health disparities by building a statewide network of organizations led by immigrants and refugees, which will focus on changing public policy and practices to eliminate racial disparities.
The Western States Center of Oregon is the recipient of a $100,000 grant over three years for its Organized Communities, Healthy Communities project. The grant will help at least 10 additional community-based organizations participate in the center???s summer programs in the areas of leadership development, community organizing, civic participation and political power, and research and action for change and equity.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.