28 Jun The #ReimagineHealth Series – Community Partner Insights ReportShare This Article
This month, we launch our #ReimagineHealth series that will talk about our approach towards an equitable recovery in our region, feature the on-the-ground work we support, and explore how we can reimagine our systems and practices to build healthier, stronger communities.
To kick off the series, we highlight our recently released Community Partner Insights report, “Reimagining Health and Wellness: Building an Equitable COVID-19 Recovery with Community” which summarizes the needs, challenges, and examples of the resiliency of nonprofit organizations and communities in our region. It also talks about our long-term pandemic response and investment strategy over the next three years.
The year 2020 was a pivotal and heavy year for our grantee partners and residents in our region, particularly for our Legacy and Equity Zone, which included the highest-ranked zip codes in Illinois for COVID-19 infections and mortalities, unemployment, housing insecurity and lack of health insurance. This past year has clarified our sense of purpose since we embarked on our health equity journey in 2017 and has reinforced the belief that community expertise and lived experience must inform our work to make an impact.
Because we knew that a long-term, equitable recovery required us to do more as a foundation, we engaged in more than 70 conversations with community, peer funders and grantee partners working on regional COVID-19 response efforts earlier this year. We learned about immediate and emergent community health and wellness needs that informed our strategic, long-term response in our region. It is one way we live out our trust-based philanthropic approach and stewardship–when we listen and act on what we hear from community.
What We Learned
In the report, we gleaned insights including:
- The growing mental health issues and substance abuse among youth, the need for racial/ethnic healing work and the need for access to multi-issue legal aid and housing advocacy on a regional level
- How the pandemic has impacted nonprofit and clinical staff and operations and about their growing need for mental health services at the organizational level
- How community health workers have become a crucial strategy to advance health equity in the region
- What should shift in philanthropic practices in this moment from conversations with community leaders
With this report, we aim to be transparent about how we center community voice in our decision-making. We encourage you to read about what our grantee partners and those they serve are experiencing, the challenges they anticipate and the resiliency they have shown during the most extraordinary circumstances of recent history.