Group Health Foundation: What’s happening now and what’s next?

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For several years, the Group Health Foundation has worked to promote childhood immunizations in communities throughout Washington state. In fact, the Group Health Foundation (GHF) is the only statewide foundation focused on keeping people healthy through immunizations and improving health care by funding clinical innovations. This year’s donations have funded a variety of efforts to increase immunization rates and improve overall health in our communities.

Here’s a sample of the variety of ways the Foundation put donor funds to good use in 2016:

  • Cliff Avril, immunization campaignCatch Every Kid campaign
    In conjunction with Bartell Drugs, GHF kicked off this campaign to coincide with back-to-school time, asking parents to vaccinate their kids, discuss the importance of vaccinating kids with friends and neighbors, and donate to GHF so more kids have access to vaccines. A campaign video starring the Seahawks’ Cliff Avril helped boost donations at Bartell Drugs locations and drive awareness of the Foundation, which saw more than 3,300 new donors.
  • WithinReach & an HPV Task Force
    WithinReach, a longtime partner in the Foundation’s immunization efforts, received a GHF grant to fund the HPV Task Force. The task force provides opportunities for collaboration among organizations throughout Washington state that are working to increase human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization rates. The HPV vaccine prevents cancers caused by HPV.
  • Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services vaccine storage and immunization clinic
    In order to increase vaccination rates and meet state recommended guidelines, Wahkiakum County needed better refrigeration to store vaccine doses. A GHF grant to Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services was used to purchase a pharmaceutical-grade refrigeration unit and more than 100 hours of medical personnel time to staff a local immunization clinic, which provided immunizations to low-income families.
  • Expansion of the Somali Health Board peer health educator training program
    A Foundation grant enabled successful Somali Health Board peer health educator training to expand to two additional neighborhoods, so sound health information could be shared with even more Somali community members.

The impact of the proposed acquisition
The Foundation’s work will carry on regardless of whether the proposed acquisition of Group Health Cooperative by Kaiser Permanente is approved by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC). If the acquisition is approved, GHF will continue its work in conjunction with the new Group Health Community Foundation (GHCF)—a new nonprofit organization that would be funded with the proceeds of the acquisition. GHF will be a wholly owned subsidiary of GHCF but will operate independently—and both organizations will be completely independent of Kaiser Permanente. In short, GHF will continue the work it does today, in much the same way.

Funding for Group Health Foundation
The assets of the two nonprofit organizations will be separate, and GHF doesn’t expect to receive any funding assistance from GHCF. GHF depends on community donations to fund its work, and that will continue to be the case. GHF also raises a significant amount of funds with its signature fundraising event each fall—The Gift of Health Gala.

Attendees at The Gift of Health Gala 2016The Gala is a black-tie event held at The Westin Seattle each October, featuring inspirational health industry and community leaders, dinner, entertainment, dancing—and a healthy dose of fundraising. This year, the event brought in more than $650,000 from individual donors and corporate sponsors like Bartell Drugs, Swedish, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Delta Dental, Kaiser Permanente, CHI Franciscan Health, Alaska Airlines, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many more.

For more about the Group Health Foundation, visit