The Consumer Health Foundation launched its strategic plan in 2014, recognizing that two prerequisites for living a healthy and dignified life are access to high quality affordable health care and having the ability to earn a living wage, save money and take time off when sick. Therefore, the foundation’s strategic plan emphasizes the importance of advocacy for health reform and economic justice in achieving health equity in the Washington, D.C. region. Assuring these basic conditions for communities of color and communities with low levels of income allows us and our grantee partners to work at the intersection of health equity, racial equity and economic justice.
Letter to the Community
One source of inspiration as we developed our strategic plan was the work by authors Elizabeth McGibbon and Charmaine McPherson who state that oppressions in society do not operate independently. Rather, they intersect in complex patterns to compound oppression. Critically acclaimed activist Audre Lorde once said, “I have learned that oppression and the intolerance of difference come in all shapes and sizes and colors and sexualities; and that among those of us who share the goals of liberation and a workable future for our children, there can be no hierarchies of oppression…I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination wherever they appear to destroy me.”
We borrowed a graphic from the authors above to demonstrate how the intersections of oppressions related to the social determinants of health, identity, and geography manifest in our region.
To advance the health and well-being of low-income communities and communities of color in the Washington, D.C. region, we believe it is necessary to work at these intersections. Last year, CHF supported the work of nonprofit organizations that are doing just this in various geographies across the region. This includes:
- Organizing and community building in low-income communities and communities of color, including immigrants and workers, in D.C., suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia
- Increases in the minimum wage in D.C. and Maryland, passage of paid sick leave policy in Montgomery County and closure of wage theft cases in Virginia
- Passage of D.C.’s Wage Theft Prevention Act and Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
- Passage of Maryland’s Hunger-Free Schools Act and D.C.’s Healthy Tots Act, which strengthens public benefit programs that will prevent hunger among children
- Increase in Medicaid rates for D.C.’s federally qualified health centers which resulted in $18 million in additional revenue for seven community health centers serving primarily communities of color
- Expansion of insurance coverage to 20,000 low-income individuals with serious mental illness in Virginia
- Improved access to dental coverage for pregnant women in Virginia’s Medicaid program, the first time that adults have access to dental services
People don’t just live at the intersections of oppression, though. We acknowledge the intangible assets of low-income communities and communities of color in the region such as resilience and optimism; community networks; and protective factors, including language, family and spirituality. We join with community members and our grantee partners in leveraging these and other assets as we strive to achieve optimal health and well-being in our region by working at the intersections of health equity, racial equity and economic justice.
Jacquelyn L. Lendsey
Chair, Board of Trustees
Yanique Redwood, PhD, MPH
President and CEO
Over the past 17 years, the Consumer Health Foundation has awarded more than $25 million in grants to more than 170 community-based organizations across the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region that are working to ensure equitable access to health care and addressing the social determinants of health.
In 2014, we awarded 36 grants totaling more than $1 million to organizations in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia that are advocating on health reform and economic justice issues and advancing racial equity and community wealth building.
CHF’s Advocacy and Innovations/Special Projects grants are listed here.
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as of December 31, 2014 and 2013
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Furniture and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation of $189,514 and $188,760, respectively
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