Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit healthcare organizations, is funding local health and social service organizations in Santa Cruz, as part of its larger commitment to building and maintaining healthy communities.
The Santa Cruz Community Health and Dientes Community Dental clinics are among 11 local organizations that received a total of $1.5 million from Kaiser Permanente’s fund at the East Bay Community Foundation. The grants will be used to fund a range of services, including food, housing, pediatric medical care, mental health care, senior health care, and support for youth affected by domestic and sexual violence.
We are proud to partner with these organizations in our local Santa Cruz community as we focus on improving the health and well-being of our members and the communities we serve.
— Irene Chavez, Senior Vice President and Area Manager of Kaiser Permanente Central Coast.
In addition to the construction grants, both the Santa Cruz Community Health and Dientes Community Dental received additional grants in 2022 from the Kaiser Permanente fund at the East Bay Community Foundation for operations and outreach. The health centers received $250,000 and Dientes received $100,000.
The grants will help these organizations provide much-needed health and social services to low-income residents in the Santa Cruz area. The new Santa Cruz Community Health building, for example, will allow the organization to increase the number of patients seen at its local clinics by 3,000 each year.
Dena Loijos, the chief strategy and impact officer at the Santa Cruz Community Health, said the new building will not only allow the organization to expand its services but also double its square footage to offer optometry services and on-site behavioral health services for substance abuse.
Similarly, the new Dientes dental clinic will serve 6,000 patients a year who otherwise could not get care in the Santa Cruz area due to a lack of providers who accept Medi-Cal, California’s health insurance plan for 13 million low-income residents statewide.
Sheree Storm, Dientes’ chief business development officer, said the partnership with the medical clinic next door allows the organization to refer anxious dental patients who have not received care in a long time due to past negative experiences to a mental health professional before a procedure.
The new clinics and housing, all located on the same site, provide a one-stop-shop for the Santa Cruz community. Irene Chavez, senior vice president and area manager of Kaiser Permanente Central Coast, said the grants reflect the organization’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of its members and the communities it serves.
Without the partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the organizations would not have been able to undertake the project, said Loijos. “Having both clinics and housing all in one place is really incredible,” she added.