Mountlake Terrace-based Premera Blue Cross, through its Social Impact Program, awarded an additional $3 million in grants and sponsorships to 20 organizations across Washington and Alaska.
According to a company announcement, this expands the company’s ongoing philanthropic work focused on addressing health inequities, mental health issues and substance use disorders, and how these conditions manifest themselves. overlap with homelessness.
“People from all communities can struggle, but we understand that historically marginalized populations and rural communities in particular often face unique barriers to accessing care,” said Paul Hollie, Head of Premera Social Impact. “There’s usually no one right answer, which is why we partner with nonprofits that tackle these issues from every angle. They have one thing in common, however: a community-driven approach that helps keep young people, older adults and all ages in between connected to appropriate care in their area.
Grant recipients include:
- Organization of the Helping Hand project in Snohomish County, received $125,000 to renovate a facility that will help it better serve people with mental health issues, substance use disorders or concurrent disorders. Prioritizing adults over the age of 60 who identify as people of color and experience homelessness or unstable housing, their holistic style of care helps people in crisis navigate social services and reintegrate in the community.
- HopeSource received $250,000 to address youth homelessness in rural Kittitas County, building a 19-unit transitional housing property for 18-24 year olds. Operating the only emergency homeless shelter in the county, this marks a critical expansion of their services. HopeSource Case Managers will work with residents on housing stability, employment, education, and mental and physical health support.
- Jumping Mouse Children’s Center in Jefferson County received $100,000 to invest in support and ongoing mastery-level training for their staff. As the region’s only mental health clinic dedicated to young children, this commitment is essential for staff retention, continued expansion into local schools, and attracting more therapists to their rural community.
- NAMI-Alaska received $75,000 to expand its mental health work to reach underserved populations in rural and remote communities in Alaska. NAMI found that nearly 40 percent of Alaskans live in an area with limited mental health services. This investment will support the development of online support groups, the training of rural teachers to facilitate classes and other culturally appropriate programs.
- NAMI Spokane received $100,000 to implement a new mental health navigation service and reduce the preventable consequences of untreated mental health issues, such as homelessness, hospitalizations and conflict with the law. Through early intervention efforts, this investment will help NAMI Spokane reach people before they experience a mental health crisis and keep them connected to stable care and services.
- Somali Health Council received $150,000 to further expand mental health awareness and education in the Somali community of King County. Attentive to the lingering trauma that refugees may experience while fleeing their country, the Somali Health Board is developing culturally relevant programs, including new youth cohort meetings focused on mental health education, support groups for parents of young people with mental health issues and online content.
- Sultana New Ventures, LLC – Reclaiming Alaska received $150,000 to support mental health workforce development in partnership with the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). A continued lack of trained providers prevents Alaskans from accessing timely mental health services – a shortage most severely affecting Alaska Natives in rural and remote communities. Together, they aim to increase enrollment in UAA’s Master of Social Work program by 10 more students this year, with a focus on recruitment from underrepresented communities.
Additional investments in grants and sponsorships include:
- Byrd Barr SquareKing’s County
- childhood havenKing’s County
- City YearKing’s County
- FavorableKitsap County
- Latin Civic AllianceKing’s County
- Providence-Alaskaborough of Anchorage, Alaska
- Providence Institute for a Healthier CommunitySnohomish County
- Seattle Out & Proud FoundationKings County,
- United Way of Pierce Countypierce county
- Wellspring Family ServicesKing’s County
- At handKing’s County
- YMCA of Greater SeattleKing’s County
- Eastern Youth ServicesKing’s County
Since 2017, Premera Social Impact has committed over $80 million and countless hours to support historically underserved communities in Washington and Alaska.
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