All the latest news from The REACH Healthcare Foundation

Report: Dental Crisis in America, The Need to Expand Access

Resources & Reports

The report, Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Expand Access, was released and reviewed at the Senate Committee on Health, Labor and Pension’s Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging meeting on February 29, 2012

What We're Reading at REACH

New Feature: What we’re reading at REACH

In our work, we come across a number of news items and reports related to REACH Foundation’s funding priorities and strategic goals. “What we’re reading” is a collection of links to noteworthy articles that have caught our attention.

The Kaiser Family Foundation illustrates in simple graphic form how the individual mandate works under the Affordable Care Act.

A former REACH Foundation Board member has written a blog post on Latinos and health care in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Kansas City Free Health Clinic was recently featured in several area news reports on KCUR and in the Kansas City Star.  KC Free is a REACH grantee and participates in the Foundation’s Medical Home Initiative.

The New York Times has created an interactive map documenting “The Geography of Government Benefits” as part of a recent feature story.


Forum on KanCare Proposal


The Kansas Health Consumer Coalition (KHCC) is organizing a public forum for next week to discuss the Kansas Governor’s plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program. KHCC will host a “Conversation about Medicaid and Managed Care” Monday, March 5, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Hayden Building (downstairs conference room), 212 SW 8th Street, Topeka, KS. The event is open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVPs should be sent to by March 1.

Speakers will include:

Joan Alker, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

Jodi Mitchell, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health. Mitchell has been a close observer of Kentucky’s managed care expansion, which began Nov. 1, 2011.

Jean Hall, Director, Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies, University of Kansas. Hall has a background in evaluating health care programs, particularly those for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Scott Brunner, Senior Analyst and Strategy Team Leader, Kansas Health Institute, where he directs the institute’s work on Medicaid, insurance coverage and access to health care.

Eleven Organizations Selected To Participate in Cultural Competency Initiative


MERRIAM, KANSAS – Eleven Greater Kansas City area health and social service organizations will receive a year of technical assistance to help the organizations improve their capacity to serve diverse populations. The technical assistance is being underwritten by three local funding organizations – the REACH Healthcare Foundation, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Jackson County, Mo., Community Mental Health Fund.

The awards are part of a Cultural Competency Initiative started by the REACH Foundation that aims to reduce health disparities by preparing organizations and workers in health, mental health and human service fields to meet the health needs of racially, ethnically and culturally diverse populations. The initiative focuses on policies, practices and other organizational changes that can influence culturally competent delivery of care.

The REACH Foundation introduced the initiative in 2009 and offered technical assistance to five organizations in the first year. The Health Care Foundation joined the initiative in 2010, expanding the number of participating agencies. The Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund, a tax levy fund, brought additional resources to the initiative in 2012 to support mental health providers in Jackson County, Mo. The latest awards bring the total number of participating organizations to 24.

“Through our investments in health and human services, we recognize that cultural competency is a major factor in how people receive health services and improve their health outcomes,” said Carla Gibson, Senior Program Officer, the REACH Foundation. “Area nonprofit leaders understand the link between cultural competence and health, but don’t have the financial resources to bring in expertise to guide them.”

The eleven organizations selected for 2012 are:


Population Served

Child Abuse Prevention Association

Children and adults

Johnson County Mental Health Center

Children and adults

KidsTLC, Inc.

Pre-teens and youth

Niles Home for Children

Pre-teens and youth

University of Kansas School of Medicine

Students and faculty

Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center

Infants to preschool

Cornerstones of Care

Children, youth and adults

Mattie Rhodes Center

Children and adults

Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault

Children and adults


Children and adults

Rose Brooks Center, Inc.


The selected organizations will work with a team of technical assistance consultants to identify areas of need and develop an individualized work plan. In addition, representatives of each organization are invited to participate in a monthly learning community group that provides additional education and connects organizations to local and national resources, and regional conferences on related topics.


 To learn more, contact:

Download the press release.


Support KC Seeks to Recognize Nonprofit Excellence


Support Kansas City (SKC) is asking community members to help identify nonprofit organizations that are examples of strong leadership and quality practices. Each year, SKC highlights two organizations through its Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Awards. The awards are one way that SKC educates the community about the importance of board service and nonprofit best practices. The deadline to submit a nomination is Feb. 20.

Two agencies will be selected: One in the category of budgets of $1 million or more; and one in the category for budgets of $1 million or less. Winners will be announced on April 17 at a celebration event to be held at the H & R Block Building. 

The nomination must be submitted by a board member by completing the nomination form found on SKC’s website:, or by contacting Cristina Vargas at 913-831-4752 ext. 109 and requesting a nomination form.

Following the nomination, an application will be provided to the agency contact identified in the nomination form by SKC. The agency contact must complete the application form and provide attachments no later than March 19. Applications may be faxed to 913-831-4707, mailed (see address below) or submitted electronically to Cristina Vargas at

An independent panel of judges will select an agency from each category based on the applications and attachments submitted.  Application criteria will be based on the Nonprofit Sector’s Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practices.

To learn more, visit


Kaiser Brief Highlights Supreme Court Review of ACA

Resources and Reports

The Supreme Court has set aside the week of March 26 to hear oral arguments in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) challenge. On March 26, the Court will focus on whether the challenges to the individual mandate are barred by the federal Anti-Injunction Act. On March 27, oral arguments will center on the constitutionality of the insurance mandate in the ACA. On March 28, oral arguments will address both whether the ACA can survive if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional as well as the constitutionality of the ACA Medicaid expansion.

 A new Kaiser Family Foundation policy brief provides an overview of the pending case, the key constitutional questions to be decided, and the legal arguments made by the parties involved.

Project Equality to Host Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Project Equality is hosting a Diversity and Inclusion Summit on Friday, February 24, 2012, at The Education Center at Metropolitan Community College at Penn Valley Campus, 3201 Southwest Trafficway, Kansas City, MO 64111. 

Project Equality notes: “The Diversity and Inclusion Summit brings together leaders in the civic, educational, financial, governmental, health, corporate and legal communities to discuss where we are in 2012 on the road to full inclusion, but even more importantly, what strategies will make equality and access a reality for all.”

For more information, see the flyer.  To register, please visit

Message From Brenda Sharpe, President & CEO

From Brenda R. Sharpe, President and CEO

Dear Nonprofit Partners: Welcome to a new year!

Last year was a busy one for all of us, and this one promises to be active as well, particularly given the increasing focus on health care and reform efforts at the state and federal levels.

One of the more significant occurrences last year was the rollout of some of the key provisions and rules related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The passage of the ACA in 2010, and the state-level activity it spawned in 2011, drove a lot of discussion and planning in our two states and region.

In our service area, there were exciting developments: new dental programs, advancement of the medical home model of care, and more nonprofits committed to improving culturally competent care and service delivery.

Within our own organization, the REACH Foundation began implementing a five-year strategic plan adopted by the Foundation’s Board of Directors at the start of the year. We worked hard in 2011 to share with our longtime partners our five-year goals and strategies, and the rationale for a more focused approach. Using a theory of change as the map for our strategic plan, we now have a framework for how and where we will make grant investments. This frame will continue to evolve as we work with grantees to achieve better health outcomes for the uninsured and low income people in our service area.

In 2011, REACH awarded 96 grants totaling $4,171,585. The declining total dollar amount reflects the lingering effects of the economy on the Foundation’s assets. Again in 2012, we have reduced our grantmaking to slightly more than $4 million to adjust for the continuing market instability and uphold our mandate as a “perpetual” foundation. We will continue to support core operating expenses for organizations we consider essential health care partners in the community, while also placing greater emphasis on advancing integrated models of mental, physical and oral health care. And, as we have since our inception, we will continually look for other ways to support and strengthen our nonprofit partners through leadership development, technical assistance and capacity building efforts such as the upcoming Nonprofit Finance Fund training, a partnership with H&R Block Foundation and Nonprofit Connect. 

Here’s how the grantmaking budget looks for 2012:

  • More than $2.5 million will be allocated for program, core operating and discretionary grants. In the first week of this year, we announced $1.2 million of that amount in program grants to 14 organizations. Our next competitive grant cycle will be launched in August.
  • Approximately $800,000 has been budgeted in discretionary grants. Our intent with these funds is to support capacity building, pilot projects, professional development and other activities that strengthen the ability of key partners to carry out their missions.
  • The remainder of our program and grant funds will support key initiatives and projects aimed at improving the health care delivery system, such as the Patient-Centered Medical Home Initiative and the Cultural Competency Initiative.

On the horizon:  REACH will explore new initiatives aimed at improving health care access and quality in our rural counties. We also will work with some of our foundation colleagues to develop a common evaluation framework and provide resources for intensive technical assistance to improve the effectiveness of health advocacy organizations.

And finally, REACH will strengthen policy efforts in Kansas and Missouri. As advocates of the underserved and uninsured, we believe that public health programs and investments are vital and irreplaceable components of the health care equation. Reducing health disparities, increasing the availability and quality of services, and improving health outcomes cannot be achieved by nonprofits and philanthropy alone. Therefore, REACH will look for ways to advance policy solutions at local, state and federal levels.

As always, our Board places transparency at the top of our communications priorities. If you have any questions about our strategic plan or grantmaking priorities, don’t hesitate to call our professional and caring staff.  We are here to help.

Brenda R. Sharpe, President and CEO


Download the letter.

Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center Opens New Facility


Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center opened its new $25.1 million facility last week, located at 825 Euclid in Kansas City, Missouri, just across the street from its old facility. Read The Kansas City Star article on the new clinic.

REACH Awards $1.2 Million in Program Grants

Foundation News Release

MERRIAM, KANSAS – The REACH Healthcare Foundation announced program grants totaling $1,228,654 to 14 organizations to support health services for uninsured and medically underserved people in the Foundation’s six-county service area. The program grants covered a range of clinical services and health care settings, from bilingual therapy to school-based mental health services; preventative, restorative and emergency dental care; and care coordination to assist patients with accessing needed medical, mental health and dental care. The grants align with the Foundation’s five-year strategic focus on expanded access to health coverage and care, and increased quality of health services.

The following organizations were awarded grants:

The Children’s Place / Mental Health / $108,779

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Inc. / Oral Health / $95,000

Crittenton Children’s Center / Mental Health / $112,220

DeLaSalle Education Center / Mental Health / $75,245

Hope Family Care Center / Safety Net Services / $50,000

KU Endowment on behalf of the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare / Mental Health / $72,435

Lafayette County Health Department / Oral Health / $25,357

Mattie Rhodes Center / Mental Health / $96,222

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Kansas City / Mental Health / $104,000

Niles Home for Children / Mental Health / $89,000

Research Belton Foundation / Oral Health / $123,750

StandUp Blue Springs, Inc. / Oral Health / $63,693

Synergy Services, Inc. / Safety Net Services / $124,273

University of Missouri-Kansas City on behalf of UMKC Miles of Smiles / Oral Health / $88,680

Total Grants Awarded:  $1,228,654

Organizations interested in applying for a grant to the REACH Foundation can find information and eligibility criteria on the web site at

Download the press release.