Cultural Competency Initiative

The initiative offers technical assistance, training activities and a learning community to assist health and human services organizations working with diverse populations.

The REACH Foundation introduced a Cultural Competency Initiative in 2009 to increase understanding and practice of cultural competence in health and human service organizations, with a long-term goal of reducing health disparities. The initiative focuses on policies, practices and internal structures that influence cultural competence within organizations. Since its start, REACH has invested approximately $772,000 in efforts to improve cultural competence and health outcomes of people in the Kansas City region. Three area health funders have partnered with REACH on this initiative, including the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund, and the Shumaker Family Foundation, representing a collective investment of more than $1 million.

In the first four years of the initiative, the primary focus was on providing area health and human service organizations with intensive, individualized technical assistance at the organizational level. More than 30 area nonprofit organizations benefited from internal assessments, coaching, policy development and change management. The funders also supported the development of a thriving, 60-plus member Cultural Competency Learning Community. Support Kansas City provides logistical and facilitation support for the Learning Community.

After four years of investing in organizational technical assistance, funding partners redirected the focus from a technical assistance model using a national consultant to building local capacity to sustain and expand the work.

For 2015, the initiative includes resources for local technical support and other capacity-building needs, such as peer mentoring, leadership development and training; evaluation and development of progress measures; and funding for the monthly Learning Community. Expected outcomes are:

  1. Community capacity to provide coordinated, culturally competent services to the uninsured and underserved as evidenced by the development of a cadre of trained, effective providers of cultural competency technical assistance.
  2. Sustainable community-based collaboration among organizations committed to culturally competent health services as demonstrated by participation in the Cultural Competency Learning Community.


For more information, contact Carla Gibson, Senior Program Officer,

Targets Include

  1. Increase organizational understanding of national best practices in cultural competency, and encourage health and human service organizations to adjust service delivery to meet the needs of the populations they serve;
  2. Increase awareness of how cultural competence affects health care access, delivery of services and health outcomes for individuals;
  3. Establish a cadre of nonprofit leaders that will continue efforts beyond the life of the initiative;
  4. Engage other foundations in the Greater Kansas City area in supporting organizations’ efforts in this area.

Information and Resources

  • REACH Foundation contact:  Carla Gibson, Senior Program Officer, 913-432-4196.
  • REACH Foundation Board-adopted Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
  • Kansas City Area Cultural Competency Learning Community: Contact Stephanie Wagner, Support Kansas City, 913-831-4752, or at

Resources and Reports