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$15M Goes to Enhance Health Equity Community Health in Hawaii  

In an effort to bolster health equity, the funding will be distributed to seven health centers across Hawai‘i, with a primary focus on addressing upstream social determinants.

 Seven community-based health centers across Hawaii have received $15 million from the Stupski Foundation to help improve health equity. 

This substantial $15 million grant is part of a collaborative initiative with Community Health Centers in Hawai‘i, with the common goal of addressing social determinants of health (SDOH), which produce health disparities. 

As the largest investment in Stupski Foundation history, this initiative signifies a deep commitment from both organizations to foster a value-based care approach. 

“We’re humbled by the extraordinary award from the Stupski Foundation to support the perpetuation of Native Hawaiian healing at our health center,” said Mary Oneha, chief executive officer of Waimānalo Health Center. “This partnership will help improve food security and support the expansion of access to oral health care through the opening of a new dental clinic in Kāne‘ohe and an expanded dental clinic in Waimānalo.” 

Richard Taaffe, CEO of Hawaii Island Community Health Center, expressed excitement for the initiative, highlighting innovative efforts that will enable significant changes within their individual communities. 

The grants are unrestrictive, allowing the selected health centers to have the freedom to adopt a comprehensive systems approach to health equity without limitations of specific health interventions or programs.  

This strategic approach enables the centers to plan and implement sustainable, long-term solutions to address SDOH and health equity, the organizations said. 

“What’s important about this level of partnership is that it can promote more significant health equity and improved social outcomes far beyond the Foundation’s lifespan,” noted Sulma Gandhi, Hawaii Health Program Officer for Stupski Foundation. “And being able to do that over four years with organizations who are committed to sustainable health equity is inspiring.” 

"This collaborative, community-driven grant helps us all get to the core question philanthropic organizations should answer," Gandhi added. "How can we be impactful and of service by relinquishing both control and power, and trust in our partners to address equity in ways that they know best, rather than what we as funders think should be done?"  

Emphasizing the significance of such partnerships, David Derauf, chief executive officer of Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, remarked, "Partnerships like these, built on listening, mutual respect, and trust, are how we truly heal our communities. This is going to be exciting." 

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