The Equity & Health Determinants Committee addresses issues of poverty, homelessness and lack of education, focusing on diverse communities and neighborhoods.
Mount Baker Foundation believes that every person should have an equal opportunity for a quality life. Generations of poverty, homelessness and lack of education result in not everyone having that same opportunity. Our diverse communities and neighborhoods need different types of support.
Equity ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities and recognizes we do not all start from the same place. Only 20% of healthy outcomes depend on access to quality healthcare services – the rest is derived from our physical environment (10%), health behaviors (30%) such as nutrition, exercise, tobacco or substance abuse, etc., and socio-economic factors such as education, income, family and community social support (40%). Our health is often determined by our zip code – and Mount Baker Foundation wants that to change.
The Equity and Health Determinants Committee is currently engaged in place-based philanthropy with an initial focus on East County. This community was identified by the Community Health Assessment as an area of health risks, with no local access to healthcare services or grocery stores. It also has a very engaged community that connects with each other to strengthen resilience. Through the Mount Baker Foundation Partnership, we have been working on an innovative model in which we give control over funding decisions to the community itself. Mount Baker Foundation has pledged $500,000 over five years to the community: $100,000 each year. Decisions for how each year’s funds will be used will be made by a council that continually seeks to increase community representation and input.
The Equity and Health Determinants Committee has also provided $425,000 in funding for the completion of the second building on the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center campus, dedicated to the Foothills Foodbank and multi-purpose community engagement.
We are interested in hearing from local experts, as well as those at the state, national or even global level.