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Blog: REACH Expands Core Partners Grants to 27 Organizations in 2017

Fall is a time when REACH Foundation staff members begin to wrap up the year’s projects and think ahead to our philanthropic investments for the next year. One of the larger commitments we make each year is core operating grants to nonprofits our Board of Directors considers to be essential partners in our effort to achieve health equity through health coverage and care.


Last week, the REACH Foundation Board approved 2017 Core Partner grants – 27 grants at $50,000 for a total of $1,350,000. This set of awards represents the inclusion of 14 new partners and an additional investment of $265,000 over 2016. Grantees include advocacy organizations, direct service providers in primary care, mental health and oral health, and organizations that provide coordination of health initiatives in our service area.

Core operating grants have been central to the foundation’s grant making for a decade. Core Partners are invited to apply for the general support grants based on their organizations’ alignment with the foundation’s theory of change and strategic priorities; the strength of their operations and program performance; and their impact on health in our service area. The funding can be used for personnel, equipment, technology and other business expenses as determined by the organization. The foundation has awarded more than $12.4 million in core operating grants since 2006.

Bill Moore, Ph.D., Vice President of Programs and Evaluation, said the organizations funded for 2017 have demonstrated “a capacity to reduce uninsurance in our service area and increase the number of consumers who receive care.” The foundation has placed an additional emphasis on supporting organizations that are working intensely to address the health care needs of particularly vulnerable populations, including homeless youth and adults; foster care youth in transition; and immigrants and refugees.

Moore said the expanded list of core partners reflects the foundation’s interest in supporting organizations that are making significant strides in creating access to health coverage and care. Grantees are invited to participate in a learning community that will focus on topics related to organizational effectiveness, planning and leadership growth.

Grant terms will begin in January 2017 for a 12-month period.

2017 Core Partner Awards

Cass Community Health Foundation
Communities Creating Opportunity
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Inc.
Community Health Council of Wyandotte County
Comprehensive Mental Health
El Centro, Inc.
Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County
Health Partnership Clinic
Jewish Vocational Service
Johnson County Mental Health Center
Kansas Action for Children (KAC)
KAC on behalf of Kansas Center for Economic Growth
Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved
KC Care Clinic
KidsTLC, Inc.
Mattie Rhodes Center
Missouri Budget Project
Missouri Health Care for All
Rodgers Health
Silver City Health Center
Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center
Synergy Services
Thrive Allen County
Tri-County Mental Health Services, Inc.
Turner House Children’s Clinic
Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare

REACH Seeks Candidates for Board for 2017

MERRIAM, KANSAS – The REACH Healthcare Foundation is accepting applications from individuals with an interest in issues pertaining to health equity and health care access to fill positions on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The deadline to apply is Thursday, December 15, 2016.

The REACH Foundation is a regional philanthropy that awards grants and provides other support to strengthen health coverage and services for uninsured and medically underserved people. The foundation’s service area covers six counties in the bi-state area:  Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas; and Cass, Jackson and Lafayette counties in Missouri, including Kansas City, Missouri.

The foundation is governed by a 17-member Board with diverse professional expertise and personal experience and interest in health. Applicants must 18 or older and reside within the six-county service area. Terms are three years; members are eligible to serve two terms.

In considering applications, the Board seeks candidates who reflect the demographic diversity of the REACH service area. Other priorities are candidates with financial, management, health services, nonprofit and/or volunteer experience.

Applicants must complete a Statement of Interest form and submit a resume by December 15, 2016. The form and other information is available at:

The selection process will be completed in March 2017. New members will begin their terms in June 2017.

For questions, contact Brenda Sharpe, REACH Foundation President and CEO, at (913) 432-4196.


Kansas Governor Balances State Budget with Large Cuts to Medicaid

From the President and CEO

Over the past week, we have been grappling with the news that due to continuing budget shortfalls in Kansas, the Governor’s Office has made more than $56 million in cuts to Medicaid, primarily by reducing the reimbursement rate paid to health providers who treat patients covered by KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program, by 4 percent. These cuts will trigger even bigger losses than the $56 million because the federal government provides $1.28 for every $1 the state spends on Medicaid.

We are deeply concerned about this latest action. Medicaid reimbursement rates are already low, which makes it difficult to attract and retain health providers to serve low-income populations in Kansas. We believe this reduction will have a chilling effect on efforts to recruit health providers in underserved communities and may result in some physicians dropping out of Medicaid provider networks altogether. If this occurs, then access to preventive health care and treatment will be further out of reach, leaving people without options close to home.

Unfortunately, some people believe that Medicaid is an abundantly-funded entitlement that should be trimmed. While that narrative may have taken hold in some quarters, it simply isn’t the case. Kansas already has one of the most restrictive Medicaid eligibility rates in the country – at 33 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. In plain language, a parent earning over $6,630 per year – or $127.50 per week – in a household of three makes too much money to qualify for the state’s Medicaid program.

With the Affordable Care Act, all states have the opportunity to expand Medicaid to people up to 138% of poverty. As we know, if Kansas had expanded KanCare this year, the federal government would have covered 100% of the cost. That 100% match will become a 95% match in 2017, 94% in 2018, and ultimately settle at 90% match in 2020 and beyond. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have recognized the financial benefit and opted to draw down the federal expansion dollars, freeing up state funds that are currently being used to pay for health services to cover other critical needs.

Other states that were considered strong holdouts, such as Oklahoma, are taking a fresh look. It’s hard to downplay the potential of that amount of federal funding. It is particularly puzzling to watch Kansas lawmakers and the Administration do just that when the state is grasping for revenues to fill its budget hole.

Over the past three years, Kansans like me and my family have heard that the revenues simply aren’t available and that the only option is to reduce state spending and thereby core services. It’s true that because of policy decisions, revenue streams have slowed to a trickle, but there are resources available to our state. Our leaders have decided to turn their backs on these resources – more than $1 billion to date – that would pay dividends in the form of a robust workforce and economy.

As Kansans wait for an explanation, health leaders and consumer advocates have launched a new alliance – the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas – and invited people who think there’s a better answer than “no” to sign on. You can find the Alliance at, and sign up for news and information on forums and other events.

If you believe Kansas has the capability to forge its own state-based solution and should draw down our own federal tax dollars to do so, particularly when our own state resources are running thin, then join the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, as our foundation has, and learn how Kansas can advance a pro-health and pro-growth movement.

Thank you for your engagement on this important issue.

Brenda R. Sharpe
President and CEO

Advocacy Training to Look at Rules, Opportunities


Nonprofit organizations interested in learning more about the rules and opportunities related to lobbying and advocacy can attend a workshop presented by the Alliance for Justice on Tuesday, May 24, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.

The workshop will review the rules and differences regarding lobbying and advocacy, the benefits and opportunities for 501(c)(3) organizations to become engaged in advocacy efforts, and how nonprofit organizations can partner and leverage efforts with other groups. The training will presented byAbby Levine, director at Bolder Advocacy, a project of the Alliance for Justice. Levine is one of the nation’s leading experts in federal tax and election law and their impact on nonprofits.

The workshop is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Francis Families Foundation, the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the REACH Healthcare Foundation and Support KC.

Find details and registration information here.

The Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations dedicated to advancing justice and democracy. The Alliance provides a voice and leadership on issues related to justice and equity on behalf of a broad constituency of environmental, consumer, civil and women’s rights, children’s, senior citizens’ and other groups.

Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program Wins National Awards


In 2015, the REACH Healthcare Foundation awarded The City of Olathe Fire Department a $20,000 capacity grant to fund further development of the Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) Program. The program, which deploys firefighter paramedics to medically assess individuals who request service, but do not need to visit an emergency room, determines needs and resources, and helps connect patients with the appropriate care in the community.

The MIH Program has been selected as a recipient of the 2016 Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and Masimo Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award.

The CFSI/Masimo awards ceremony brings together representatives of all the national fire and emergency service organizations as well as members of Congress to advance important issues in Washington, D.C., that benefit firefighters. The awards presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 5, at the 28th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, the MIH Program has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Thomas H. Muehlenbeck Award for Excellence in Local Government by the Alliance for Innovation.

Innovation Award recipients are chosen from among hundreds of nominations received by a committee consisting of national city and county managers and Alliance for Innovation staff. The selection committee looks for dedication to stretching and improving the boundaries of day-to-day government operations and practices, implementing creative business processes and improving community civic health. The awards ceremony will be held at the 2016 Transforming Local Government Conference from June 15-17 in Saint Paul, MN.

REACH Updates Non-Discrimination Policy for Grant Applicants


This week, the REACH Foundation will notify grantees of a change in the foundation’s non-discrimination policy requirements for applicants. The REACH Foundation’s Board of Directors adopted a Diversity and Inclusion Policy several years ago that called for the foundation to promote and support diversity and inclusion not only through our organization’s governance and employment policies, but also through our grant making, and policy and advocacy efforts. The foundation’s policy included sexual orientation and gender identity from the start, but we recognized that some of our grantee partners might need time to discuss these requirements in order to adopt changes. Therefore, we allowed for a phased-in approach and worked with organizations that needed assistance with the development of policies that would meet our funding requirements.

For 2017 funding, all grant applications must include a board- or trustee-adopted non-discrimination policy for both employment and service provision that includes race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and any other consideration made unlawful by applicable law. Although gender identity and sexual orientation are not currently protected classes under federal or Kansas and Missouri state law, the Board of the REACH Healthcare Foundation is committed to a broader definition of non-discrimination.

Foundation staff is available to talk with organizations about their agencies’ diversity and inclusion policies, and answer questions about this funding requirement. Members of our program team also are available to facilitate dialogue about health equity, and the role of governance and management of nonprofit and governmental health and human service providers in promoting non-discrimination, diversity and inclusion to improve the health of all people.

If you or your organization’s staff or board members have questions about this funding requirement, please contact William Moore, Ph.D., Vice President of Programs and Evaluation, at 913-432-4196. As always, we welcome your thoughts and conversation regarding this change in requirements.

Thank you for your engagement on this important issue.

Brenda R. Sharpe
President and CEO

REACH Board Elects Members with Health, Business, Educational Expertise


The REACH Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors, a 17-member board that provides governance and oversight to the health philanthropy, elected six members at its March 24 meeting. The elected members included individuals with oral health, higher education, nonprofit, finance and health care law experience. Five are new to the REACH Board; one is an incumbent elected to a second term. All elected members are residents of the foundation’s six-county service area.

The following individuals will begin their terms on June 1:

Arif Ahmed, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Health Administration at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC, where he leads the health leadership and management programs and guides development of health-related executive education. Ahmed completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Policy/Research and Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He began his career as a dental surgeon in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Laura Bond, JD, is an attorney with Spencer Fane LLP. She has spent much of her 25-plus year career providing legal services to health care providers and managed care entities, including hospitals, physicians, MCOs and safety net providers. Bond earned a law degree from the University of Kansas. She has served on the boards of Health Partnership Clinic, Olathe Area United Way, Olathe Chamber and the Olathe Medical Center.Angela

Angela Harse, JD, is Staff Counsel/Assistant Risk Manager at Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Office of General Counsel. She previously worked at Dentons and as a Partner and Associate at Husch Blackwell. Harse has focused her practice in the health care area, monitoring regulatory changes and developing risk mitigation strategies. She earned a law degree at UMKC School of Law. She is a member of Children’s Mercy Hospital Hands and Hearts Auxiliary Board.

Vicki Hohenstein, MBA, CFA, is Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager and a member of Tower Wealth Managers Board of Directors at Tower Wealth Managers/Country Club Trust. Hohenstein previously was Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager for Bank of Kansas City. Hohenstein is a REACH Board incumbent, serving on the Finance Committee, and previously served as Vice Chair of the REACH Community Advisory Committee.

Danielle Jones, MPH, is an Army Public Health Center Fellow assigned to advise the Senior Commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In this role, Jones provides analysis of public health programs, policies, services and protocols to enhance the readiness and resiliency of the community. She brings a background in health promotions. Jones earned a Masters of Public Health at the University of West Florida.

Lisa Thurlow, DDS, is the clinical director of the dental hygiene program at Concorde Career College in Kansas City, MO, and maintains a clinical practice at Johnson County Dental Care. Thurlow has served as president and other leadership roles for the Fifth District Dental Society of Kansas and as a Kansas Dental Association delegate. She served on the dental peer review committee for more than 15 years. Thurlow earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery at UMKC and completed her residency at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Kansas City, MO.

In selecting members, the REACH Board looks for candidates who represent the geographic and demographic diversity of the foundation’s six-county service area. The board also seeks candidates with experience in nonprofit management and governance, financial services, health care and volunteer service, and who share the foundation’s interest in issues that affect individual and community health.

The next application cycle will begin in fall 2016. The deadline to apply for consideration for 2017 is December 15, 2016. Eligibility and application information is available on the Board of Directors section of the web site.

Major Health Foundations of Kansas Urge Legislators, Governor to Expand KanCare

News Release

Foundation CEOs point to new research that finds KanCare expansion would generate state budget savings and revenue gains while insuring 150,000 Kansans

TOPEKA — Leaders of the state’s six major health foundations today sent a letter to Kansas legislators and the governor urging them to give KanCare expansion “serious consideration and an open debate,” pointing to new research that shows potential savings for the Kansas budget.

“The potential benefit to the state budget alone indicates that legislators can no longer afford to simply say ‘no’ to KanCare expansion. We call upon legislators to give KanCare expansion serious consideration and an open debate, allowing diverse opinions a chance to be heard in committee and on the chamber floors,” reads the letter signed by the six foundations, which comprise the Kansas Grantmakers in Health (KGIH).

The letter cited a new analysis by Manatt Health Solutions commissioned for KGIH that found with KanCare expansion and the favorable federal funding match offered, Kansas could expect to save much of what it currently spends for providing critical services to the uninsured, including up to:

  • $75.3 million that Kansas spends annually for mental and behavioral health care.
  • $28.9 million that Kansas spends each year to reimburse hospitals and clinics for the uncompensated care they provide.
  • $9.3 million that Kansas spends annually for medical services to prison inmates.
  • $4.1 million that Kansas spends each year for the MediKan program.

The analysis concluded: “It appears that Kansas should be able to generate sufficient savings and revenue gains to cover the costs of expansion between 2016 and 2020 – in other words, expansion should be budget neutral. In fact, expansion may generate savings and new revenue in excess of the costs of expansion during this period.”

The letter from the foundations said the potential benefit to the state budget alone merited serious consideration of KanCare expansion. “Kansas’ severe and growing budget crisis recently prompted legislators to pay a consultant $2.6 million in hopes of finding more savings and efficiencies. Yet for two years, Kansas has ignored a policy decision that could be saving the state millions of dollars right now, while providing more than 150,000 uninsured Kansans health coverage: KanCare expansion,” the letter continues. “Many of the states that have embraced expansion are led by Republican governors and conservative legislatures. If they can find state-based solutions, so can Kansas.”

The full text of the letter from the foundations is attached.

The Kansas Grantmakers in Health is comprised of: Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Kansas Health Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation, Sunflower Foundation, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, and Wyandotte Health Foundation. More information on each is attached.

REACH Foundation Funds Insurance Enrollment Efforts Across Region

News Release

MERRIAM, KANSAS – The REACH Healthcare Foundation announced a set of short-term grants to support activities aimed at educating people about health insurance options and assisting them with enrollment through the federally facilitated health insurance marketplace, The foundation awarded grants totaling $190,000 to 11 nonprofit organizations in Kansas and Missouri to assist with the open enrollment period that will begin on November 1.

The grants will support the hiring and training of health navigators and Certified Application Counselors; access to online scheduling tools; placement of promotoras and other culturally prepared navigators and assisters in communities with a high proportion of underserved populations; and targeted communications and outreach activities to connect with African American, Hispanic and other racial and ethnic groups that experience high rates of uninsurance.

This year marks the third year that the foundation has awarded grants to support health insurance information and enrollment efforts. William Moore, Ph.D., Vice President of Programs and Evaluation, said lessons learned from the first two open enrollment periods have “given us a road map for how to better reach people who are particularly medically vulnerable because of where they live, cultural and language barriers, and lack of understanding of how to enroll for coverage and qualify for federal premium subsidies.”

“Given the REACH Foundation’s longstanding commitment to ensuring access to quality and affordable health care, it is essential that we take full advantage of this opportunity to connect people to available coverage options, particularly when tax credits and other premium assistance are available,” said Moore.  “These grants are going to organizations that have helped with marketplace enrollment or have relationships with the populations that we are hoping to reach.”

Funded Organization Amount
Community Health Council of Wyandotte County $20,000
Enroll America 42,500
Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County 12,500
Health Partnership Clinic of Johnson County 10,000
Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved 35,000
Kansas City CARE Clinic 10,000
Mid-America Regional Council Community Services Corp. 10,000
Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, Inc. 10,000
Swope Health Services 10,000
Thrive Allen County, Inc. 10,000
Urban League of Greater Kansas City 20,000
Total Awards $190,000

For more information about the outreach and enrollment grants, contact William Moore at

REACH Foundation Seeks Candidates for Board of Directors

News Release

Merriam, Kansas – The Community Advisory Committee of the REACH Healthcare Foundation is accepting applications from community members interested in health issues who would like to be considered for nomination to the foundation’s Board of Directors. The deadline to apply for the REACH nominations process is Thursday, December 17, 2015.

The REACH Foundation was established in 2003 for the purpose of improving access to health care coverage and services for the benefit of uninsured and medically underserved individuals and communities in the foundation’s service area. In 2014, REACH awarded $4.2 million in grants to nonprofit organizations to support health services and health education, advocacy and outreach in a six-county region that includes Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas; Cass, Jackson and Lafayette counties in Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri.

The foundation is governed by a 17-member Board of Directors that serve as volunteers. Board members are elected to three-year terms and may serve up to two terms. To be considered, candidates must be at least 18 years of age and reside within the foundation’s defined six-county service area.

The Board seeks candidates with an interest in health issues and the needs of underserved populations, and who reflect the geographic and demographic diversity of the region. Other priorities are candidates with investment, audit and financial expertise, health services delivery, policy, nonprofit and/or community service experience.

Board members will be selected in March 2016, with terms beginning June 1, 2016. To be considered, applicants must complete an online Statement of Interest form and submit a resume by Thursday, December 17, 2015. The Statement of Interest form and other information about the nominations process is available on the About the Board of Directors section of the web site.

For questions, contact Brenda Sharpe, REACH Foundation President and CEO, at (913) 432-4196.