Health foundations award $2.47 million to organizations improving health outcomes and promoting civic and voter engagement

May 1, 2018

Media Contact Kristi Zukovich, 316-491-8419

WICHITA, KAN – The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) is pleased to announce 11 organizations will be receiving a total of $2.47 million as part of a multi-state partnership initiative, which will engage populations that are new to the political process. This initiative connects the importance of voting and civic engagement with long-term health.

KHF is targeting groups of Kansans who have not traditionally been involved in the democratic process. With this in mind, KHF partnered with Health Forward Foundation and REACH Healthcare Foundation to launch a new program, “Kansas Integrated Voter Engagement (IVE): Health Depends on a Vibrant Democracy.” The purpose of IVE is to integrate year-round voter/civic engagement as a part of existing program work.

The health of many Kansans is often affected by how much money they make, where they live, their education level, race or ethnicity. Low-income Kansans, African-Americans, Hispanics and those without a high school education often experience poorer health and may have reduced access to affordable health care. These same individuals are also less likely to vote or register to vote.

“We’re pleased that our funding can strengthen communities by both improving health outcomes in the state and increasing voter engagement,” said Steve Coen, KHF president & CEO.

Eleven organizations–ten in Kansas and one in Missouri–will receive $75,000 a year for three years, for a total grant of $225,000 per organization. Each grantee will incorporate year-round, non-partisan Integrated Voter Engagement into their existing work to serve at-risk populations. KHF provided funds for eight organizations.

Each organization will be tasked with increasing voter registration and turnout in local, state and national elections, and encourage greater civic engagement between election cycles.

The grantees include:

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Kansas: To advocate for affirmative reforms to make voter registration and participation easier; provide Know Your Voting Rights trainings; and incorporate civic engagement into existing racial justice and criminal justice reform efforts in Kansas.

Climate + Energy Project: To invest in high-quality IVE training through a partnership with Wellstone Action and a statewide network of both environmental advocacy groups and community leaders focused on climate and energy solutions. This network will improve voter awareness of the links between health, climate resilience and energy, while securing voter engagement beyond single-issue campaigns to sustain and grow a powerful block of climate and energy voters throughout Kansas.

El Centro Inc.: El Centro–which focuses on immigration as a barrier to access to healthcare–will work within Latino communities in Wyandotte, Johnson and Shawnee counties to increase voter turnout, cultivate leaders and promote civic engagement to bring collective solutions to issues facing the Latino community.

Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice: To launch “Voters Together,” an IVE program focused on Anderson, Woodson, Allen, Bourbon, Wilson, Neosho, Crawford, Montgomery, Labette and Cherokee counties addressing health disparities connected to food insecurity, incarceration and low voter turnout in southeast Kansas.

Kansas Rural Center: To build a statewide IVE program focused on rural communities lacking consistent physical, social or economic access to healthy food; Kansas farmers and ranchers seeking greater production and marketing diversity, and women farmers and socially disadvantaged minority farmers or citizens in rural areas.

Kearny County Hospital: To increase voter registration, civic engagement and political participation while focusing on improving health outcomes for vulnerable and underserved populations – especially the immigrant and refugee population in Kearny and Finney counties.

MainStream Education Foundation: To launch the IVE campaign, “Be a Voter,” which will engage community advocates and faith, education and business leaders in Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Kansas City, Kansas to identify health equity issues important to their populations and devise strategies to connect those issues with voting and broader civic engagement. MainStream will develop IVE messaging and engage voters year-round on specific health equity issues, including food insecurity, health care access, education and job growth.

Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2): To significantly increase voter registration and turnout; recruit, train and develop dozens of new leaders; and ensure leadership toward the passage of equitable public policies to create a community safe for all residents of Kansas City, Kan.

Missouri Jobs with Justice: To enhance voter participation rates of voters of color in upcoming elections by engaging Kansas City, MO, voters about health care, and to build teams of citizen leaders that can mobilize community support on this issue. It’ll also empower community leaders to demand an end to public policies that jeopardize health outcomes of working-class communities.

Seed House-La Casa de Semilla: To build stronger civic engagement and increased voter participation among young voters in Wichita (ages 18-35), primarily focusing on young people of color, all while encouraging future voters (ages 14-17) to be civically engaged.

Tri-Agency Intervention Inc. dba Liberal Area Coalition for Families (LACF): LACF–which focuses on programs to improve both the health and healthcare access for all county residents–will build a concentrated multi-cultural, multi-generational effort to increase voter registration and turnout in Seward County.

Note: This news release has been updated to include a $225,000 grant to ACLU approved in May 2018. The initial release went out on Oct. 31, 2017.


The Kansas Health Foundation is based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. With a mission to improve the health of all Kansans, KHF envisions a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices where they live, work and play. To achieve this, the Foundation focuses its grantmaking in four primary impact areas: access to care, healthy behaviors, civic/community engagement and educational attainment. To learn more about KHF, please visit

Health Forward Foundation is igniting a culture of health by tackling pressing health issues for those most in need. Through partnership and advocacy, we are working to transform communities so everyone has an opportunity for better health. Since it began grantmaking in 2005, Health Forward has awarded approximately $315 million to agencies addressing health needs in the community.

The REACH Healthcare Foundation is a regional philanthropy with a mission of strengthening access to health coverage and services for uninsured and medically underserved people in a service area that includes Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Jackson, Cass and Lafayette counties in Missouri. The foundation has invested more than $54 million in health programs, and policy and advocacy efforts since 2005.

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