Kaiser Permanente, one of the country's largest not-for-profit health care organizations, funded 792 grants nationwide, totaling approximately $16 million in the third quarter of 2010. Grants awarded to organizations this quarter included funding basic human services in California in a tight economy, offering dental care to women and children in the Mid-Atlantic States, and providing college scholarships to high school students in the Northwest to pursue careers in health care.
"We help our communities by making it easier for them to do what is needed to improve health," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy, Kaiser Permanente. "We remain committed to funding programs that improve the determinants of health such as food, safety and physical activity."
Kaiser Permanente's contributions made nationwide in the third quarter of 2010 included, but were not limited to, the following grants:
Responding to the Economic Crisis
Bringing much-needed relief to people struggling through the recession, Kaiser Permanente awarded approximately $1 million in Community Benefit grants this quarter to non-profit agencies that offer basic human services such as food, shelter, debt management counseling and job training services, throughout Northern California, with a focus on the Bay Area and Central Valley.
The grants were awarded to 17 agencies to enhance critical services to people most in need of food, housing, medical care and crisis counseling, among other necessities. This support follows a previous $1 million awarded in 2009 to the same organizations, which are helping to bolster communities hardest hit by the economic crisis.
"We recognize that many families and communities continue to struggle during the economic downturn, and that's why we're extending these grants for a second year," said Yvette Radford, Kaiser Permanente regional vice president, External and Community Affairs. "We remain committed to providing support to these organizations, which in turn are helping to improve the physical and economic health of individuals and families in our communities."
Access to Healthy Food and Activity in Safer Neighborhoods
Healthy eating and active living have become a national priority, but when people don't feel safe in their communities, they are less likely to use local parks, access public transportation, or let their children walk to school or play outside, says a Kaiser Permanente funded research paper by Prevention Institute of Oakland, Calif. "Addressing the Intersection: Preventing Violence and Promoting Healthy Eating and Active Living" finds that we must prevent violence to be successful in preventing chronic disease.
The $95,000 grant to the Prevention Institute this quarter will be used to advise communities how to implement the findings of the original study, and take action to develop solutions that encourage physical activity and better community engagement to promote safer neighborhoods.
"Healthy food and activity leaders have identified violence and the fear of violence as major roadblocks to the success of chronic disease prevention strategies," said Virginia Lee, program manager, Prevention Institute. "The report deepens the understanding of the relationship between violence, healthy eating and physical activity, and provided guidance on identifying and promoting intersecting strategies. Now it's time to act on it."
At the Common Good City Farm in Washington DC, tomato, broccoli and zucchini plants are thriving next to neighborhood homes and buildings. Seniors examine vegetable leaves for garden pests through the Green Tomorrows program which offers them two or more hours of learning in exchange for a weekly bag of farm produce. Children dig the loamy soil for earthworms as a part of the Youth Education program, which engages school groups and neighborhood children in farm activities, environmental stewardship and health. Staff pick up ingredients from the farm for their cooking lessons through the Growing Gardens Workshops that educate the public about gardening, nutrition and cooking.
These activities are funded in part this quarter by an $80,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente. The funding will support programs that will expand the distribution of produce and outreach materials to target communities, and expand the reach of education programming.
Common Good has also partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank to expand programs to sell some of Common Good's produce at a subsidized cost for food bank distribution.
Support for the Safety Net
Almost 45,000 clients of the Community Clinic Inc. (CCI) of Rockville, Md., who are underinsured, uninsured, homeless, disabled and suffering from co-occurring and chronic illness, will have access to a comprehensive dental health program through a $200,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente.
The Dental Health Program that serves women and children through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, will assist the CCI in providing dental care to about 10,000 patients in 2011.
Kaiser Permanente funding will contribute to a 12-year education project targeting women in the WIC program, to educate participants on good oral health practices, provide oral health patient education materials in English and Spanish, and offer educational materials on the importance of early-age oral hygiene and regular dentist appointments.
Additional information about Kaiser Permanente's Community Benefit grants and additional programs can be found in the 2009 Community Benefit Annual Report at www.kp.org/communitybenefit/annualreport2009.