Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health system, announced a series of actions -- including $60 million in joint investments and $40 million in grant funding -- to address systemic racism and lack of economic opportunities that have persisted for far too long and prevented communities of color, and especially Black communities, from achieving total health.
This announcement comes as Kaiser Permanente deepens its 75-year commitment to equity and inclusion and sends a clear message that the organization stands with those who are fighting for equity and social justice, Kaiser said in a news release.
“The tragic murder of George Floyd and so many others has reverberated around the world, pushing us to demand overdue change to a status quo that keeps communities of color in the margins and holds us all back as a society,” said Greg A. Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “As a country, this is a moment to define who we are and what we stand for. We must take strong action to stop the physical, psychological, economic and social impacts of inequity and systemic racism so that we can create healthier communities where everybody, regardless of their skin color, can feel safe and thrive.”
Kaiser Permanente will provide support to more than 2,000 businesses owned by Black and other underrepresented people across the country.
Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by a lack of economic opportunity, living under sustained financial strain that creates multiple barriers to good health, the company said.
The health crisis and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic are hitting low-income and communities of color -- particularly Black communities -- disproportionately hard, threatening to widen the health equity gap in even further, Kaiser said.
To support businesses led by Black and other underrepresented individuals, Kaiser and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development organization, have launched a $60 million investment partnership to strengthen businesses in the wake of COVID-19. The partnership will provide business loans of $100,000 to $4 million.
Kaiser is also designating $15 million in grant dollars to increase access to formal training, business networks, and recovery and growth capital to help businesses led by Black-and other underrepresented groups overcome systemic economic disadvantage. Pacific Community Ventures and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) -- two organizations with expertise in the needs of these small-businesses owners -- will be initial partners in this work.