As Energize Colorado nears yet another milestone—entering its third year in March 2022–I’m pleased to share that Kaiser Permanente has made a $1 million contribution to Energize Colorado’s Gap Fund. Since 2020, the Gap Fund has deployed nearly $27M directly to small businesses in the forms of grants and low-interest loans. Philanthropic enterprises like Kaiser Permanente are taking note, recognizing the value of contributing to efforts that reach the businesses and communities most in need.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, community-based organizations are creating ways to serve businesses and community members,” says Stephanie Ledesma, interim senior vice president of community health programs for Kaiser Permanente. “Awarding grants to these organizations furthers our shared commitment to inclusive economic growth, which builds upon our long-standing commitment to supporting the social needs of our members and communities.” With the support of Kaiser Permanente and its leaders, especially Mena Yaft who serves on the Gap Fund Executive Committee, Energize Colorado has been able to help businesses bridge a gap during an unprecedented time.
In addition to supporting small businesses directly through the Gap Fund, grant money received from Kaiser Permanente will help us execute our new Square Mile Program. The Square Mile Program aims to improve the economic outcomes in underserved communities in the Pueblo, Southwest Denver, and East Colfax corridor areas, as well as in the childcare provider industry. The intent is to meet small businesses owners where they are, helping them prepare to with loan readiness and providing business advising and technical assistance while creating a community cohort of businesses that support one another. The Square Mile strategy is a top initiative for 2022. Read more about the Square Mile Program in Kaiser Permanente’s recent article.
Grants to community-based organizations are part of the contributions Kaiser Permanente makes throughout each year to improve the health of our communities. Kaiser Permanente also serves the community through a range of programs, including Medicaid, charitable health coverage, medical financial assistance, and medical research. Learn more about its commitment to community health.
Join me in congratulating the Energize Colorado team and in thanking Kaiser Permanente for its support.