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Investments in Black Community Promote Total Health for All – Cyber Armada Hub

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Good health is about more than just high-quality health care. A healthy community is part of complete health for an individual.

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But decades of systemic racism have led to stark inequities and limited access to essential needs in certain communities, especially Black communities.

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Since 1945, Kaiser Permanente has invested in community health, including making charitable contributions to nonprofit, community-based organizations that share its vision for health and equity.

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When it comes to improving health, we know a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Every community in which we provide care is unique. In Kaiser Permanente Washington, we use input from our Community Health Needs Assessment to prioritize funding to organizations that promote mental health, provide access to healthy food, develop thriving neighborhoods, and improve the overall community conditions that affect health.

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“Building healthier and more equitable communities is central to our mission,” said Angela Dowlingregional president of Kaiser Permanente Washington. “By investing in our communities’ identified needs, we are supporting organizations and leaders who are helping our communities to thrive.”

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“Through partnership with community organizations, we can pave the way for a future where every individual has equitable access to the resources and opportunities they need to achieve their optimal health and well-being,” said Linda TolbertMD, executive medical director for Washington Permanente Medical Group. “These improvements grow from our collaboration with each community to co-design and co-create solutions that truly make a positive impact on health and other core needs.”

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Following are just some of the ways Kaiser Permanente Washington provides funding to support the Black communities we serve.

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Diverse business growth

Our efforts to support Black-owned businesses and other businesses owned by underrepresented and historically marginalized groups have helped entrepreneurs connect to capital, technical training, and financial coaching. Since 2020, through our partners, Kaiser Permanente has provided growth resources to over 2,200 diverse small businesses. We are providing resources to local entrepreneurs of color to help their businesses thrive.

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  • The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle provides training, technical assistance, and networking for Black-led small businesses.
  • The Skyway Coalition works to counter displacement and gentrification in the Skyway neighborhood of King County in Washington by connecting with the community to accelerate small-business development, provide access to job training, and build community wealth.
  • Ventures nonprofit builds businesses and changes lives by equipping low-income entrepreneurs with training, support, and access to capital.
  • The Tacoma Urban League works to ensure Black-owned businesses have access to capital, government contracts, and technical assistance. It also increases their visibility within the community, which supports their growth and sustainability.
  • The Carl Maxey Center in Spokane, Washington, provides technical assistance and financial support to local Black-owned businesses to remove barriers to success and promote sustainability.

Equity and social justice

We are working with partners to design and scale racial equity projects, practices, and campaigns that ensure Black and other people of color can participate in a just society, live in a healthy community, and prosper in an equitable economy. These partners are focused on supporting Black-owned businesses, empowering youth to make changes in their community, and helping communities heal from trauma and racism.

  • Africatown Community Land Trust was formed to acquire, steward, and develop land assets that are necessary for the Black and African diaspora community to grow and thrive in place in the Central District of Seattle as well as to support other individuals and organizations in retention and development of land.
  • Byrd Barr Place offers essential services — food, shelter, warmth, and financial tools — for neighbors in Seattle to build stability and self-sufficiency.
  • Our Sisters’ House has 5 programs that address juvenile family violence, child witnesses of violence, a support group for African American women who are survivors of domestic violence, and advocacy programs that assist women fleeing their abusers.
  • Tacoma Urban League was born out of the civil rights movement as a racial justice advocacy organization for African Americans and other people whom society has marginalized.
  • Tubman Center for Health & Freedom is working to address health and wellness from both systemic and clinical approaches, focusing on the health of patients and the factors that determine their health.
  • Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle serves as an architect of change with a mission of empowering people they serve by providing programming and essential services designed to support and encourage self-sufficiency in all aspects of life.

Mental health resources

We are working to end the stigma around mental health conditions and help people achieve emotional wellness. We support the following Black mental health programs and initiatives that focus on encouraging Black communities to create a culture of acceptance and support for mental health.

  • Washington Therapy Fund provides free mental health services to Black community members, with equitable pay for clinicians.
  • Living Well Kent bolsters the mental health and collective healing of youth of East African, Middle Eastern, and North African descent.
  • Our Sisters’ House improves the mental health and well-being of youth of African American descent through life coaching, media literacy, healing circles, and social media.
  • Academy for Creating Excellence prepares young Black men and men of color for excellence through youth-led mental health awareness workshops and activities.

Food and nutrition security

When people are hungry, lack proper nutrition, or cannot access the food they need to address medical needs, they are less likely to get or stay healthy. That’s why we support these partners that are creating neighborhoods where healthy food is readily available.

  • Urban Food Systems Pact under The Silent Task Force is fostering the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food to the marginalized community in the unincorporated Skyway neighborhood of King County in Washington through farm-to-table, culturally specific fresh produce.
  • A cohort of grantees (Bethel School District, FamilyWorks, Feeding Feasible Feasts, Franklin Pierce School District, and Seattle Public Schools) is improving youth and family food security in 3 communities by addressing stigma, availability of cultural and fresh meals, and family food purchasing power.

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