Kaiser Permanente, the largest health care provider in Northern California, today announced a $10.5 million investment in the Oakland community that is designed to help school children stay healthier as they learn, help them increase their attendance rates and academic performance, and teach them about humanitarian leaders who succeeded in making positive differences in their communities.
Through grants from a fund established by Kaiser Permanente at the East Bay Community Foundation, the gift will establish or expand programs offered by the Oakland Unified School District, the Oakland Police Department's OK Program and Remember Them: Champions for Humanity.
"At Kaiser Permanente we consider ourselves a part of the fabric of the city and strongly believe we have a responsibility to play a leading role in improving the health and well-being of this community," said Gregory A. Adams, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals, Inc., in Northern California. "These grants are expressly tailored to address important community health needs in this city. By focusing specifically on programs that serve schoolchildren, the grants represent hope for the future by giving youth the tools and direction they need to thrive."
The components of the grants are:
- $7.5 million to the Oakland Unified School District to support school-based health centers in city schools and the African-American Male Achievement Program, and to support the district's strategic-planning efforts.
- $1 million to the Oakland Police Department's OK Program to support community-based violence prevention and youth mentoring program for at-risk youth.
- $2 million to Remember Them, to support a one-of-a-kind social justice monument and park and the accompanying educational curriculum that will teach schoolchildren about the history of 25 international humanitarians who made a difference through courage, perseverance, education, sacrifice and a desire to make life better for all.
"We have high expectations for our students and our city, but in order to reach those goals, we must establish conditions that allow children to thrive both academically and socially," said OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith. "Creating that environment will require support from every aspect of the Oakland community. So it's tremendously encouraging to see Kaiser Permanente extend its leadership position on this issue and model the type of public-private partnership needed to realize our vision for OUSD.
"We're transforming OUSD into a full-service community school district with an emphasis on educating and caring for the whole child," Smith said. "Social and human services are not seen as extra or add-ons in these schools. Instead, collaboration in service of children and families is how these schools consistently behave. The generous donation from Kaiser for school-based health programs exemplifies that commitment and makes an invaluable contribution to the general wellness of Oakland Public School students."
"The early intervention and mentorship provided by the Our Kids (OK) Program can significantly alter the course of a child's adolescence and break cycles of generational crime," said Anthony Batts, Chief of the Oakland Police Department. "The civic leadership and generosity demonstrated by Kaiser Permanente is crucial to the program's continued success. Community involvement is a key component to maintaining public safety in the City of Oakland; the core of this commitment must be the children."
The grants announced today are the latest manifestation of Kaiser Permanente's long-standing commitment to Oakland, which has been the headquarters for Kaiser Permanente since its inception in 1945.
With more than 10,000 employees working in the city, Kaiser Permanente is Oakland's largest private employer, and also the city's largest landowner. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente contributes to Oakland's economy by supporting the creation of jobs in the form of vendors and contractors—most notably in the current construction of the new, 349-bed Oakland Medical Center located at the corner of Broadway and MacArthur Boulevard.
Kaiser Permanente has consistently supported the many critical health, human service, educational and economic development organizations and programs within Oakland.