New grants to improve health for underserved communities in Tri Cities, Yakima

Community Health Plan of Washington is donating $250,000 to community-based organizations serving minoritized communities across the state, including four organizations in Yakima Valley and the Tri Cities.

The investment is geared toward improving health in underserved communities by helping local organizations provide for whatever they may need to be their healthiest selves.

“Everything from access to food, employment; if you are an immigrant or refugee, having a place that will help you with language skills, or naturalization processes,” CHPW director of public relations Meg Olberding said.

CHPW is giving 25 organizations across the state $10,000 each from its Advancing Equity Fund, including La Casa Hogar in Yakima, Nuestra Casa in Sunnyside, TC Futures in Kennewick and the Tri-Cities Immigration Coalition in Richland.

Olberding said all four of those organizations do work with immigrant and refugee populations that may have individualized needs that can be supported by the grant, such as helping them to obtain citizenship.

“Citizenship allows them, for example, to access Medicaid benefits or to have other opportunities to work in this country in a way that they can’t work if they’re not naturalized citizens,” Olberding said.

Olberding said the grant funds are unrestricted, which will allow the organizations to spend the money on whatever will best improve the health and well-being of the communities they serve.

“for some people, it’s housing for other people, it’s access to nutritional nutritious food. For some people, it’s access to employment opportunities or education so that they can then get employed.

“Those are all parts of healthcare for us, because… they’re barriers to people having a healthy life and that’s really what we’re hoping for,” Olberding said.

To date, CHPW has invested $730,000 divided between among 43 community-based organizations across the state. This is the third round of funding and Olberding said they’re hoping to be able to provide a fourth round in the future.