At the Kansas Health Foundation, all of our work is designed to make progress in five key impact areas: increasing access to care, increasing physical activity, increasing healthy food access, increasing civic engagement and decreasing tobacco use. In order to make progress on these impact areas, our three core organizational strategies are grantmaking, strategic communication and policy/advocacy. Utilizing these strategies, the bulk of our funding is funneled into two major program areas, both of which are explained below.
Studies suggest zip code of residence, household income and other social factors have a strong relationship with health and are root causes of these differences. To reduce health disparities related to social and economic factors, the Kansas Health Foundation implements initiatives at three levels:
The circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age have the greatest impact on health. Not all Kansans have the same opportunities to make healthy choices and lead healthy lives.
Tremendous disparities exist regarding diseases associated with poor diet, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use. KHF supports strategies that promote healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco use prevention with a particular focus on eliminating these disparities.
It is important for all Kansans to have access to quality health care services when they experience poor health. To address gaps in access to, and quality of, healthcare services, KHF supports strategies that ensure more equitable access to health care services for Kansans.
Civic health is a measure of the well-being of a community, state, or nation and is determined by how actively citizens are engaged in their communities and in solving community issues. A community with strong civic health is resilient, has effective governance, and is a better place to live. A low level of civic health can lead to dysfunctions in communities that make it harder to address pressing public problems. KHF looks to engage Kansans in improving the health of our state through the collection and dissemination of actionable data, the strengthening of media/journalism and the spreading of civic leadership.
The collection and dissemination of data is critical for determining the greatest health issues facing Kansans. Until elected officials, organizations, agencies, communities and neighborhoods clearly understand the problems, they will be unable to effectively mobilize assistance and solutions. This commitment is seen primarily through the funding of the Kansas Health Institute (KHI). Since 1995, KHF has been the primary funder of the Topeka-based KHI, a non-partisan, independent research and data gathering organization.
Throughout our nation’s history, a strong, independent media industry has fostered accountability and transparency. However, recent changes to the media landscape have cost many communities their daily and weekly newspapers, leaving them underserved with the local and state information that is so valuable to spurring community action.
Even if the will to take action is present, without the capacity and skills for leadership, even the best of intentions can fall flat. We join the Kansas Leadership Center, our strategic partner, in believing that leadership is an activity, not a position, and through our funding we seek to ensure citizens have the opportunities and training to step up and lead in their communities.
Every month, our electronic newsletter, Health Happenings, features a story about a focus area, grant, partnership or program involving the Foundation.