Meeting the challenges of a global pandemic
We are proud to share this snapshot showcasing the innovative work Kaiser Permanente supported in 2021 to improve the health of our communities amid another year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank our vital community partners, public health colleagues, physicians, and health care professionals for their tireless service. We also recognize the sacrifices they made to address the many health and economic challenges our communities faced.
The stories and videos below bring their work to life and provide highlights of our $1.05 billion Community Benefit investment to support Northern California’s most vulnerable communities in 2021.
The year began with hopeful news: the approval of the COVID-19 vaccines. We quickly made critical investments in trusted community organizations to ensure an equitable distribution. Through 140 grants and donations to community health clinics, faith and community organizations, and local public health agencies, we addressed vaccine concerns in culturally relevant ways and supported more than 2,000 convenient pop-up and mobile vaccination clinics in neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.
To promote a just economic recovery, we invested in diverse small businesses and programs that provide quality jobs and prepare young people for college and careers. We supported food banks and organizations that address homelessness and made impact investments to preserve affordable housing. We also prioritized support for community partners responding to the significant rise in mental health needs in our communities.
As we transition to managing COVID-19 for the long-term, we acknowledge the enormous hardship and loss that our communities have experienced – especially Black, Latinx, Native American, and other communities of color that have suffered disproportionately.
The grave and urgent nature of the pandemic compelled us to work with our community partners in new ways. Going forward, we will continue to join forces to address the health and social inequities the pandemic exacerbated. With a shared sense of purpose, we can realize a more equitable and healthy future for all.
Carrie Owen Plietz
President, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals
Vice President, External & Community Affairs
Kaiser Permanente Northern California
As COVID-19 cases surged at the start of 2021, Kaiser Permanente worked quickly to get life-saving vaccines and accessible testing into Black, brown, and underserved neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic.
Working together with public health colleagues, we developed a data-driven strategy to ensure people received trusted information about the virus and timely, accessible vaccinations. We supported our approach with $12 million in contributions to critical community partners for programming, staffing, and supplies, including nearly $2 million to Federally Qualified Health Centers. Together we helped provide 500,000 vaccinations throughout Northern California.
Supporting education, outreach, and equal access to vaccines
We proudly supported 140 critical community partners who developed innovative ways to provide trusted COVID-19 vaccination information, outreach, and convenient neighborhood clinics to people at high risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Sharing real stories
to boost vaccine confidence
Kaiser Permanente created a vaccine confidence campaign with stories from people deeply affected by COVID-19 to inspire young people of color to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the ones they love.
Supporting schools and nonprofits
with life-saving supplies
Hundreds of schools and community organizations in 56 California counties benefited from a $22 million Kaiser Permanente donation through SupplyBank.org. The donation included masks, hand sanitizer, and other critical supplies to curb the spread of COVID-19.
With the pandemic causing continued economic hardship, Kaiser Permanente accelerated efforts to address social health needs — including stable housing and affordable, healthy food.
In 2021, we made more than $13 million in contributions to food banks and other community partners working to end hunger and chronic homelessness and prevent people from losing their homes. Through our impact investments totaling $23.6 million, we helped to preserve more than 1,100 affordable housing units in Northern California.
Funding food distribution
and CalFresh enrollment
When food banks continued to see a significant increase in demand from pre-pandemic levels, Kaiser Permanente responded by supporting food distributions and innovative ways to help people receive federal food benefits.
through stable housing
A $500,000 grant to a Santa Cruz nonprofit is one example of Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to expand supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals and provide recuperative medical care for those recently released from hospitals.
In 2021, Kaiser Permanente deepened its support of economic opportunities in communities that have endured decades of systemic racism and underinvestment.
We allocated more than $3.5 million to organizations that support diverse small business growth, college and career readiness, and access to good jobs. Our Health Equity Scholars program funded a total of nearly $300,000 in scholarships to 84 college students in Northern California in partnership with the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. We also increased our purchase of goods and services from businesses owned by women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups, spending more than $990 million.
Achieving economic equity one small business at a time
Viviana Montaño’s family restaurant is one of the 3,300 diverse small businesses in Northern California that received support and capital to grow their businesses thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s support of key community partners.
Building a foundation
for a nursing career
In 2021, our Nursing Student Work-Study Internship Program provided paid, supervised, clinical experience to prepare 73 senior-level nursing students representing a diversity of backgrounds for a career in nursing.
Mentoring the next generation
Kaiser Permanente employee mentors are a crucial part of our KP Launch summer internship program. In 2021, 367 high school and college students took part in the paid program that introduces talented young people to careers in health care.
The isolation and strain of the pandemic caused a significant increase in people experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression.
Kaiser Permanente responded with $4.7 million in targeted contributions to more than 100 organizations and schools in underserved communities. We helped increase access to mental health care, expand trauma-informed services, and promote resilience. We also supported the well-being of students, staff, and teachers through our Thriving Schools Resilience in School Environments initiative, and we adapted our Educational Theatre programming to provide tools for students to cope with stress, manage their emotions, and feel more at peace.
Helping to heal
When racism, xenophobia, and misinformation about the COVID-19 virus sparked an increase in hate crimes against Asian Pacific Islanders, Kaiser Permanente invested in expanded mental health services for the community.
when it’s needed most
In response to feedback from students and teachers calling for tools to improve well-being, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre reworked its K-12 programming to focus on mindfulness and emotional awareness.
Medi-Cal and other
coverage and care
*As reported to the State of California in the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals 2021 Community Benefit Plan.
In grants, donations,
and direct support
Medical Financial Assistance
Employee and physician
volunteers put in
Youth and adults reached
through Educational Theatre
Medical residents trained
in our Graduate Medical
In employee and corporate
donations to nonprofits