Washington, DC— The Greater Washington Community Foundation today announced $9.2 million in grants funded by the historic Health Equity Fund (HEF). Grants will support 32 DC nonprofit organizations (see full list of partners below) engaged in economic mobility to help close the glaring and intolerable racial health and wealth gap.
The $95 million Health Equity Fund has the potential to reshape the way DC addresses its long-standing health inequities. Given that 80 percent of DC’s health outcomes are driven by social, economic, and other factors, compared to just 20 percent by clinical care, the strategy for this fund is to use an economic mobility frame to address the root causes that are causing these challenges in the first place.
“Mindful that health and wealth are inextricably linked, the HEF’s first round of grants is boldly investing in economic mobility and wealth building in DC’s historically underinvested communities,” said Greater Washington Community Foundation President and CEO Tonia Wellons. “Achieving this vision puts our city on a trajectory to improve and achieve optimal health outcomes for all DC residents.”
“The Health Equity Fund represents an important opportunity to advance DC HOPE—health, opportunity, prosperity, and equity,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We know that by addressing the social determinants of health, we can attack disparities in health outcomes, empower families, and transform communities.”
“At CareFirst, we recognize that social and environmental factors have a greater impact on health outcomes than factors within our healthcare system,” said Brian D. Pieninck, President and CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst). “By supporting community-based efforts to improve the economic mobility of District residents, this first round of funding aligns with our mission to advance accessible, affordable, equitable, and quality healthcare for people and communities in the District.”
A committee composed of Community Foundation staff, community members, and representatives of local foundations and think tanks reviewed proposals from 101 eligible applicants. The 32 selected grant recipients include diverse organizations and projects, including:
- Beloved Community will support cooperative incubation, a Participatory Action Research program, and quarterly worker clinics.
- Bread for the City will pilot our their CashRx program, a direct cash assistance program that focuses on the social determinants of health to reach those most impacted by poverty.
- Capital Area Asset Building Corporation will address the social determinants of health by providing BIPOC individuals living in DC’s lowest-income neighborhoods emergency savings and access to mainstream financial resources.
- First Shift Justice Project will support working mothers and Latinx and BIPOC people in low-wage jobs to assert their rights to reasonable workplace accommodations and accessing paid leave benefits leading to job retention and stability that increases economic mobility.
- The National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens will support the creation of a new holistic wellness and wealth creation program for women of color returning from incarceration. The program will also feature an innovative matched savings accounts program to enable financial security and wealth creation, and access to housing and job readiness training.
- Mothers Outreach Network will pilot Mother Up, a guaranteed income cash transfer initiative for low-income mothers who are at risk of involvement with the child welfare system. The goal of the pilot is to provide evidence of whether additional money reduces the likelihood of involvement with the child welfare system.
- Tzedek DC will support advocacy to change the way medical debt is collected, educate the community, and litigate high-impact and individual medical debt cases.
- Yachad will support its Healthy Housing Remediation Program to preserve and rehabilitate existing homes for low-income Black and Brown multi-generational households in Wards 7 and 8, so that families can remain in their homes and benefit from increased property value.
About the Health Equity Fund
The Health Equity Fund was created to improve the health outcomes and health equity of DC residents. One of the largest funds of any kind focused on community-based nonprofits that serve District residents, the Health Equity Fund is also the largest in The Community Foundation’s nearly 50-year history. Over five years, the fund will support and advance a sustainable network of people, organizations, and projects that will ensure equitable health outcomes for Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color and other marginalized populations in Washington, DC.
The Community Foundation was independently selected to manage the Health Equity Fund because of its track record of working with individual donors, businesses, and local government to manage effective community investments and create tangible, lasting change in the region. Health Equity Fund goals align with The Community Foundation’s ongoing work and 10-year strategic vision to close the racial wealth gap by eliminating the historic, racialized disparities in our region.
The Community Foundation is working in partnership with a Health Equity Committee mandated by the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the District of Columbia and GHMSI. The seven-member committee includes Nnemdi Elias, MD, MPH; Dr. Tollie Elliott; Wendell L. Johns; Lori Kaplan; Juan M. Jara; Dr. Djinge Lindsay, MD, MPH; and Courtney R. Snowden. Together, The Community Foundation and Health Equity Committee are ensuring the Health Equity Fund is managed according to guidelines outlined in the Memorandum.
About the Greater Washington Community Foundation
The Greater Washington Community Foundation ignites the power of philanthropy, catalyzes community impact, and responds to critical needs. For five decades, The Community Foundation has connected caring donors with nonprofits creating lasting change in DC, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Prince George’s County. As the region’s largest local funder, we have invested more than $1.4 billion since 1973 to build racially equitable, just, and thriving communities where everyone prospers. Today, our strategic focus is to close our region’s racial wealth gap so that people of all races, places, and identities reach their full potential. For more information, visit thecommunityfoundation.org.