Funding to grassroots organizations in Washington state aims to dismantle practices and structures that prevent communities of color from achieving good health.
Kaiser Permanente will donate grants totaling $500,000 to 4 nonprofit, community-based organizations in Washington to address systemic racism the state. The grants will focus on civic engagement and policy, health care, education, and business and cultural development.
Last summer, in response to the disproportionate health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color, coupled with the national movement for racial justice and Black lives, Kaiser Permanente announced a series of actions the organization would take to advance equity within its workforce, care delivery, and communities served. One of the commitments to equity included a new $25 million investment designed to end systemic racism and its accompanying trauma on individuals and communities of color. The 4 grants in Washington are part of the initial $8.15 million investment toward this commitment.
“These unprecedented times call for Kaiser Permanente to take a stand and lead on racial and social justice issues,” said Kristin Conn, MD, medical director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Kaiser Permanente in Washington. “These investments will support leaders to advance community-based solutions that foster racial equity and justice, healing, and good health in communities of color.”
The grant recipients are:
- Africatown Community Land Trust, to support economic opportunity and strengthen cultural institutions for the Black community in Seattle’s Central District.
- Black Education Strategy Roundtable, to create and use their Asset-Based Black Student Report Card, an advocacy tool, that Black parents and community members can use to ensure data and strengths-driven language inform decisions by education and state policymakers.
- Byrd Barr Place, in partnership with the Tubman Center for Health and Freedom, to engage BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) leaders in developing solutions that address systemic gaps in health care services and improving health outcomes for BIPOC communities and individuals in the Puget Sound area.
- Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, in partnership with Tacoma Urban League, to build capacity for civic engagement and advocacy to support policies that address the needs of Black communities, such as meeting housing needs and closing the generational wealth gap.
Together these grants aim to dismantle discriminatory policies, systems, and practices and will touch nearly 52,000 individuals across the state.
“Not all health care is created equal,” said Andrea Caupain Sanderson, CEO of Byrd Barr Place. “Our aim with this community-centered research by and for Black, indigenous, and people of color is to spark conversations and spur changes that improve access to culturally specific health care. Thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s support, we’re able to launch this critical initiative to advance racial equity in health care.”
Dr. Conn continued, “Our support of these Black-led organizations is an important step in our urgent work to promote health equity and break the cycle of racism-driven stresses that lead to poor health outcomes for our patients, members, and communities.”