Community resilience | Local partnerships and capacity building
A cornerstone of our work as one of the largest health systems in the country is the ability to partner with and invest in local organizations and others of goodwill who share our commitment to identify and respond to unmet needs. Investing time and resources with these partners allows us to combine our resources with their in-depth knowledge of communities. These relationships help build on-the-ground capacity and allow us to serve our communities in ways that address many unique circumstances and needs.
Providence’s strategic grantmaking partner invests in community transformation
As Providence’s grantmaking partner, the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund enables our organization to invest in and transform the health of our communities. With a data-driven approach focused on reducing disparities, the fund awards grants to organizations responding to our communities' most pressing needs. Findings from our community health need assessments, conducted every three years, inform the criteria of these needs.
The fund has made investments and built partnerships in California communities since 1986. In 2021, the fund expanded its focus to support programs and communities throughout Providence’s seven-state family of organizations.
In 2021, through its Community Capacity Initiative, the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund announced grants and technical assistance totaling $2.75 million to 24 nonprofit organizations across Providence’s geographic footprint.
Grants are directed toward dedicated capacity building, including organizational growth and development, research and evaluation, and technical assistance and coaching.
“SJCPF is proud to support local organizations to address both immediate pressing issues at the community level and longer-term strategy,” says Gabriela Robles, chief executive of the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund. “The fund is an extension of Providence’s community investment, helping to ensure nonprofits can continue to serve their constituents and have a sustainable presence in the community,” added Robles.
Based in Oregon, the Better Outcomes thru Bridges Program, known as BOB, is a collection of programs that are integrated to serve very poor and vulnerable people. Often these individuals struggle with medical and behavioral health challenges along with housing insecurity or homelessness. Leading with compassion, dignity and integrity, BOB caregivers seek to meet each person’s most basic human and social needs and improve overall health and well-being.
In 2021, BOB used its collaborative community model of care to serve about 8,600 people. Last year, Providence invested nearly $980,000 in community benefit funding to support the program.
The BOB Program’s collaborative community approach model of care means meeting clients where they are, using a person-centered approach, working collaboratively with locally-based partners, and developing inclusive relationships that serve entire communities. In 2021, BOB used this model to serve approximately 8,600 people through street and camp outreach, behavioral health emergency follow-up calls, community events, and outreach and peer support programs in clinics, at the emergency department, and in schools.
With support from a generous food grant, BOB was able to provide monthly onsite services in partnership with LoveOne Community events in Clackamas County to serve more than 1,000 people with warm meals, donated hygiene supplies, warm clothing, and other items. During the extreme heat waves of summer in 2021, the BOB team handed out cooling supplies to about 700 people living outside. They also worked with Providence's property management and real estate team to connect with several camps of people living on Providence properties to offer information, support, and supplies. In addition, BOB teams provide de-escalation training to community partners in Oregon including warming shelter staff, tiny home village staff, community action agencies, and LoveOne Laundry volunteers.
BOB is known not only across the state but now nationally for its unique model of care. It has received national recognition, including the American Hospital Association Dick NOVA award for innovation and community partnership. The program plans to expand in-person to all Providence hospitals in Oregon.
When remote learning was put into place as a pandemic safety measure, schools saw a significant drop in kindergarten readiness. Many challenges resulted from online learning, including trauma due to the pandemic. With strong community support, the team at Denise Louie Education Center in Seattle was able to cautiously reopen its doors to in-person schools in addition to virtual classrooms. Ultimately, the pandemic has created a new frontier: providing quality early childhood education while simultaneously adjusting COVID-19 protocols to protect children and families.
Throughout 2021, as COVID-19 guidance and protocols kept evolving, the center’s team relied on relationships with many community partners to meet the variety of growing needs facing families and students. Longtime partner Swedish is part of this group, and provided a community benefit grant in 2021 that included funds to purchase reusable and disposable masks for students in addition to thermometers.
Swedish provided the Denise Louie Education Center with a community benefit grant in 2021 that supported virtual counseling, interpreters, and the purchase of masks for children.
DLEC Family Services Supervisor Nina Luu was able to order fun, appealing masks for kids who struggle with wearing them, ensuring better safety and making mask routines for kids, “just like having a shirt on.” Thanks to the thermometers provided by Swedish in 2021, DLEC staff took students’ temperatures over 10,000 times, helping to streamline screening and prevent spread.
When asked what makes a good community partnership, DLEC’s Director of Development and Marketing, Nikki Huang, says, “Our commitment to accountability and transparency is one of the reasons we are able to successfully partner with so many different types of organizations. We work closely with the families we serve and know what their needs are. This guides our partnerships so together we can make the best choices, maximize our resources, and have the greatest impact on our community.”
In addition to important equipment, Swedish’s funding also supported DLEC by providing virtual counseling sessions for parents and funding for interpreters in the classrooms when the Omicron variant surged in late 2021. Sessions, which focused on loss and grief, were held in Chinese, English and Spanish. Ongoing partner relationships also enabled DLEC to establish the Family Emergency Fund in 2021 to help struggling families who were behind on utility bills, in need of groceries, or seeking car repairs.
Providence’s investments and collaborations with community partners allow us to use our scale and resources to provide direct local support in every community we serve. We believe that health care extends beyond the walls of our hospitals and clinics into the neighborhoods where our patients live. We are grateful for our partners and the expertise they provide in the communities we serve together.