Kaiser Permanente supports Hawaii health with $205,000 for local nonprofits

HONOLULU — Just in time for the holiday season, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii awarded $205,000 in community benefit grants to local nonprofits earlier this month in an effort to help improve health and wellness in Hawaii.

HONOLULU — Just in time for the holiday season, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii awarded $205,000 in community benefit grants to local nonprofits earlier this month in an effort to help improve health and wellness in Hawaii.

The organizations in this latest round of grant funding focus on behavioral health support, preventive screenings and healthy eating, with a main goal of reducing health disparities in Hawaii. In 2016 alone, Kaiser Permanente provided nearly $800,000 in community benefit grants to Hawaii nonprofits.

“Kaiser Permanente is committed to addressing our most pressing community health issues, such as obesity, mental illness and disparities in care and treatment,” said Mary Ann Barnes, RN, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Hawaii Region. “We strive to support organizations that have a broad impact on every area of health in Hawaii — that nourish our keiki by providing healthy lunches at school; improve vision and oral health through screenings and education in low-income communities; promote healthy behaviors and relationships in developing adolescents; and create a safety net for individuals struggling with mental illness.”

On the Big Island, The Kohala Center received $35,000 to improve school lunch nutrition while supporting the procurement of locally grown produce, as part of a statewide Department of Education (DOE) Farm to School taskforce. Following U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) child nutritional guidelines, the Center will develop a model for healthier school meals and local food procurement that will be introduced to 800 Hawaii Island students in a pilot phase, with the potential to be adapted by DOE school food services statewide.

The Hawaii Department of Education, Office of Child Nutrition Programs received $20,000 in support of Hawaii School Nutrition Authority (SNA), a member organization for school food service staff and professionals that provide meals to students. Prior support from Kaiser Permanente led the Hawaii SNA to grow its membership from 30 to 300 members. The grant will provide training, travel stipends to national conferences and support that will allow Hawaii SNA to organize its nonprofit structure and maintain a strong member base.

Hawaii Public Health Institute (HIPHI) was awarded $20,000 to conduct research and analysis on health policies that have the potential to decrease tobacco use, reduce the prevalence of obesity and improve the health and well-being of all Hawaii residents. The research will encompass community-level assessments on health priorities, as well as best practices on healthy eating and smoking prevention. HIPHI will collaborate with more than 200 partners, including state and county policymakers, departments and community-based organizations to develop policy recommendations from its findings.

Other recipients based on Oahu included Helping Hands Hawaii with $35,000, Ala Kuola for $25,000, Trust for Public Lands with $20,000 and University of Hawaii Maui College was awarded $15,120.