The Equity & Health Determinants Committee addresses issues of poverty, homelessness and lack of education, focusing on diverse communities and neighborhoods.
Only 20% of health outcomes depend on access to quality healthcare services – the rest depends on the following:
Social-economic factors such as education, income, family, and community support (40%)
Health behaviors, such as nutrition, exercise, tobacco, or substance abuse (30%) and
Physical environment (10%).
We call these “upstream factors,” and our goal is to address issues of poverty, housing insecurity or homelessness, access to healthy food choices, and pathways for education.
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.
There is not a single solution to eliminating the issue of homelessness. We believe it includes a community-wide focus with clear cut priority on not just serving those experiencing homelessness but reaching “functional zero” in homelessness which means it is “rare and brief.” While much of our work is with families with children, we also see the larger issue.
Through shared philanthropy with geographical communities, we want to increase resiliency of individuals, neighborhoods, and communities. “Shared philanthropy” means we grant funds to a community and allow them to prioritize their spending. We find our funding tending towards flexible funding more and more often as we understand the needs of communities and where funding can make the most significant difference.
Education is the key to better income and improved quality of life. Not everyone has had the same access to education. We want younger students to realize they have an opportunity for higher education, and all students to have an opportunity to succeed.
Because not all services are provided equally between urban and rural areas, we are working on internet access, from the availability of fiber, to affordability to digital literacy.
Mount Baker Foundation reaches out to diverse cultures throughout Whatcom County. We respect and wish to celebrate the diversity of our community and support the work of engaging across cultures. Wherever possible, we seek to do this with flexible funding. We learn so much from these engagements.
A grant of $425k to support building of the Foothills Food Bank on the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center Campus to reduce food insecurity for an underserved population, as well as to encourage community engagement within a physical setting.
Through a shared philanthropy agreement, Mount Baker Foundation is encouraging the community to continue its work in increasing the voices of its residents and prioritizing key projects.
MBF provided $20,000 to Nooksack Tribe for Starlink Connection and $10,000 to TAG NW to improve digital literacy in Whatcom County .
This grant is for the Larry Kinley documentary and start up funding for Children of the Setting Sun Institute. Children of the Setting Sun Institute collects and shares information, data, and stories from the Native American culture for the community and future leaders. They actively engage youth in the production of the documentaries, in interviews, event creation and production.
The Longhouse for Healing will be a cultural center and gathering place celebrating Native Americans at Western Washington University. It is called the “house of healing” to acknowledge the past traumas and distress of long-standing racial injustices affecting Native American peoples. The longhouse will honor the land we live and learn upon and respect the peoples who lived and learned upon it first. It will also be a space to educate the community about the history and culture of Native Americans.
Mount Baker Foundation granted $50,000 to Unity Care NW to support the construction of the Way Station, a building in downtown Bellingham that will serve homeless individuals in need of hygiene, mental health services, and/or medical respite. Individuals will also be able to access wrap around services, including help into long-term housing. Doors are expected to open in November 2023.
Two grants of $500,000 were awarded to Mercy Housing Northwest for the acquisition of the Evergreen Ridge Apartments to preserve low-income status to continue supporting those living in poverty and to support the construction of low income housing at Millworks located at Bellingham’s downtown waterfront.
This grant provided the funding for the completion of 5 additional “tiny homes” in the Gardenview Village in Bellingham. Gardenview Village provides a safe place for older or medically fragile people experiencing homelessness. These “tiny homes” are insulated, furnished, and has heat, electricity, windows, and a locking door. The Village has a community kitchen, hygiene facilities, and 24/7 staff who are dedicated to helping residents move into permanent housing and access other wrap around services.
This grant is a three-year grant to support the startup of Racial Unity Now! in Lynden, working to develop community engagement across cultures.
Mount Baker Foundation has created four endowed scholarships at Western Washington University, Northwest Indian College, Bellingham Technical College, and Whatcom Community College to support a member of a historically unrepresented. Additionally, MBF has granted Goodwill $20,000 over 5 years for students who complete a Goodwill training program and want to pursue higher education.
We are interested in hearing from local experts, as well as those at the state, national or even global level.
For more information or to join our mission, email email@example.com.
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