Frequently asked questions
What is the best way to contact Group Health Foundation if I have a general inquiry?
The easiest way to reach us is to send a message through our contact form. Your message will be forwarded to the person best equipped to respond to your request. We respond to every message we receive. If you do not have email access, please call us toll free at (866) 389-5532.
What funding opportunities are available?
We support organizations and fiscally sponsored projects whose work advances health equity and community aspirations for a vibrant, healthy future in Washington and along our borders.
You can learn about funding opportunities by visiting our grantmaking page or signing up for our emails. At this point, we are not accepting unsolicited requests for funding other than sponsorships, which we offer on an ongoing basis. Through 2020, we are continuing our focus on learning and relationship-building with communities and partners throughout Washington to inform our long-term funding strategy. We will be paying close attention to communities who are most impacted by health inequities and have received little or no support from philanthropy in the past.
How much will Group Health Foundation grant each year?
In 2019, we made $18 million in grant commitments (some are paid over multiple years), and we expect to make more than $45 million in commitments in 2020. Our grantmaking will continue to grow over time—as we build relationships with communities and develop our staff capacity—to approximately $80 million a year.
Do you provide funds to intermediaries or “re-granters,” such as community foundations and United Ways?
We are most interested in intermediaries who have deep and trusting relationships with communities. When deciding on funding for an intermediary, we are interested in hearing whether community organizations prefer to receive direct grants or if they would benefit from a funding partnership with, and receiving funding through, an intermediary.
Your organization has “health” in its name. Are you only funding health-related activities?
We have a broad definition of health that includes the many factors that contribute to individual, family, and community well-being. As a relatively new foundation, we are taking time to learn from communities about how they define health and well-being. We aim to fund a wide range of organizations and projects engaged in advocacy, leadership development, cultural reclamation, community healing, civic participation, organizing, anti-racism work, narrative change, and much more. See the organizations who received Community Learning Grants in 2019 and 2020.
What does it mean to be a 501(c)(4) organization?
As a 501(c)(4), Group Health Foundation may fund 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(4) nonprofits, other tax-exempt organizations, Tribes, and even for-profit entities, as long as the organizations and activities we are funding advance “social welfare” and are consistent with our primary purposes. Like 501(c)(3) organizations, we may also engage in direct program activity that advances our purposes, including capacity building, educational activities, and coordination of funded programs.
Nonprofits that receive contributions from a 501(c)(4) have greater flexibility to pursue a range of advocacy, power-building, and political activities.
What do you mean when you say “health equity”?
We understand the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age affect their health and that these circumstances are often determined by historical and present-day injustices. Achieving health equity would mean that all people in Washington have fair and equal access to opportunities for healthy, productive lives regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, income, or where they live.
How is the Foundation approaching relationship-building with communities?
We believe that people most impacted by health inequities should be at the center of solutions. The Foundation has—and will continue to—prioritize building relationships with Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color; immigrants and refugees; people with disabilities; members of the LGBTQ+ community; and people who have experienced poverty or homelessness. We will also look to connect with these communities in areas throughout the state that have been historically overlooked by philanthropy and corporate donors.
Read “Our Approach to Building Relationships with Communities” to learn more about our priorities for outreach and how we aspire to engage with communities. You also can read about what we learned from our first community visits in all 39 Washington counties in “A Year on the Road.”
How will you use data, research, and evaluation? Will you work with external research partners?
Data collection, research, and evaluation can provide helpful information to advance health equity. At the same time, they may perpetuate harm if they are not conducted with accountability and in partnership with communities most impacted by inequities. As we outline in “Our Approach to Information, Learning and Evaluation,” we seek to work with communities to understand the kind of information they are interested in gathering as part of their efforts to build community power to improve health and well-being.
We aim to partner with researchers who share our values, are trusted community partners, and will ensure those most impacted by inequities are centered in, leading, and co-designing research projects.
Is Group Health Foundation hiring? Do you offer informational interviews?
For the latest information on available jobs, visit our jobs page, sign up for our emails, or fill out our candidate interest form. Due to our current staff capacity and the number of inquiries we receive, we are unable to respond to requests for informational interviews. We also want to be mindful about giving all applicants a similar level of information access.
What is Group Health Foundation’s connection to Kaiser Permanente?
When Kaiser Permanente acquired Group Health Cooperative, a new 501(c)(4) foundation was formed with the proceeds from the acquisition. Our 501(c)(4) and the longstanding 501(c)(3) foundation that was previously part of Group Health Cooperative now operate collectively as “Group Health Foundation”—with a shared commitment to advancing health equity in Washington. Group Health Foundation is a completely independent entity with no formal connection to Kaiser Permanente.
What are examples of Group Health Cooperative’s legacy of social impact?
When Kaiser Permanente acquired Group Health Cooperative in 2017, our 501(c)(4) foundation was created with the proceeds to carry on the Cooperative’s legacy of social impact.
Group Health Cooperative, founded in 1946, had a vision to create a health system grounded in the principles of social justice and to provide affordable, preventative, person-centered care. Here are some examples of the Cooperative’s legacy:
- Group Health Cooperative was a leader of reproductive justice and equitable access to women’s health care, both around the time of Roe v. Wade and in more recent years. The Cooperative was unwavering in its commitment to open access service, including abortion.
- The Cooperative advocated for the care of transgender people, including transition care, while working in partnership with patient, advocacy, and LGBTQ groups.
- Group Health Cooperative’s Board of Trustees took a public position opposing the Washington state initiative that would restrict bathroom access by gender identity.
- Group Health Cooperative supported public funding for school-based health centers to provide mental health services and contraceptives.
- The Cooperative also created Medicare advantage as a group benefit model that allowed preventative care; made gains fighting for equitable payment for rural health care; supported universal health care; and helped advance the original Basic Health Plan in Washington that provided government-subsidized coverage for the “working poor” who were not Medicaid eligible and could not afford health insurance.
Are there other organizations like Group Health Foundation?
There are foundations across the country that have structures and aspirations with some similarities to Group Health Foundation. Here are a few examples: