The Kresge Foundation has announced a new focus area aimed at advancing health equity.
Since 2017, the foundation's Institutional Investment for Community Health strategy has supported grantee partners, including the Center for Community Investment and Healthcare Anchor Network, working to encourage health systems and plans to shift their investments and procurement practices to better address local priorities, particularly those benefiting low-income Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. With the field maturing, the foundation has refined its strategy and is announcing the launch of a new Community Investment for Health Equity focus area.
The new strategy is based on four considerations: the need to be more explicit about applying a racial justice lens to community investment, closing the racial wealth gap, and achieving health equity; the need to build community capacity by putting greater emphasis on community intermediaries who can build effective community investment ecosystems able to finance projects prioritized by low-wealth BIPOC communities; the need to support innovative models of community ownership that enable BIPOC residents to exercise some control over development efforts and to benefit from those efforts financially; and the need to create the necessary conditions for an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Going forward, the foundation will explore such questions as how community power and asset-building can contribute to health equity; what kind of local and state policy environment best supports community ownership and asset building; what would it take for mission-driven investors to move beyond traditional asset classes such as housing to invest in community ownership models; and how can mission stewards center racial and health equity at every phase of development, particularly in financially and legally complex investment structures.
"Through this work, we aim to improve health equity by creating robust community investment ecosystems designed to close the racial wealth gap," the foundation states on its Community Investment for Health Equity webpage. "We believe that improving neighborhood conditions while building community wealth will empower communities in achieving health equity."
(Image credit: Kresge Foundation)