Health Forward awards $1 million in Policy and Civic Engagement Grants

Contact: Jennifer Sykes
Phone: (816) 241-7006

Kansas City, MO — Health Forward Foundation is proud to award $1 million in grants to 15 nonprofit organizations. Each nonprofit is receiving a second year of funding as part of Health Forward’s first round of Policy and Civic Engagement Grants.

Funding supports advancing policies that expand health coverage and improve access to care; increase grassroots power and influence in the health policy arena; and increase political will for policies that improve health by investing in safe, affordable and healthy housing.

“Health Forward complements our grantmaking by advocating for policies that support thriving communities,” said McClain Bryant Macklin, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives. “Our partners bring powerful voices to important conversations and their advocacy will lead to a better future for the communities we serve.”

The following grants were awarded during a January board of directors meeting:

Health care access grants

AgencyAwardGrant Description
Kansas City Medical Society Foundation$75,000To develop internal education and advocacy capacity; create a network of active physician leaders; and conduct education and advocacy activities to increase health access for uninsured people in Kansas and Missouri.
Missouri Budget Project$75,000To provide policy analysis, outreach, and coalition-building aimed at securing policy priorities that protect and strengthen Medicaid coverage.
Missouri Coalition for Oral Health$60,000To increase engagement in oral health advocacy, build long-term capacity, and broaden the statewide network of stakeholders engaged in collectively improving Missouri oral health.
Missouri Primary Care Association$75,000To ensure the successful implementation of Missouri Medicaid expansion by working with legislators, various state departments, and other partners.
Missouri Family Health Council$75,000To build the capacity of provider organizations to advocate for policies that expand access and reduce structural barriers to health care, especially family planning.
Oral Health Kansas$75,000To build legislative champions and mobilize organizational allies for the passage of a comprehensive bill that will improve access to oral health care for all Kansans.

Grassroots organizing grants

AgencyAwardGrant Description
BlaqOut$43,320To create a robust grassroots organizing and advocacy infrastructure that will influence health policy, issues, and decision-makers through the leadership and voices of black women.
Developmental Disability Services of Jackson County – EITAS$68,507To address critical health issues affecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Jackson Co. by developing a health equity collaborative and building capacity for grassroots organizing.
El Centro$75,000To expand integrated voter strategies to include building issue campaigns and developing leaders to assist in creating policies that increase health equity.
Mainstream Education Foundation$75,000To grow a culture of year-round civic engagement in Kansas through collaboration, training, and leadership development. Funding will support the expansion of the Voter to Voter effort in Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
Missouri Organizing and Voter Engagement Action$75,000To support the development and implementation of integrated voter engagement plans for grassroots organizations engaged in achieving health care expansion. Funding will support training leaders to engage in this long-term work.
MORE2$75,000To reach and mobilize leaders, with an emphasis on those personally impacted by not having access to health care coverage, by hiring a full-time community organizer.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes$53,173To galvanize the Greater Kansas City community into grassroots supporters who are trained to protect access to sexual and reproductive health care in the region.

Housing policy grants

AgencyAwardGrant Description
Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom$50,000To establish an active base of tenants and community allies devoted to winning safe, affordable, and healthy housing by operating a legal help hotline for tenants seeking information about their rights.
United Community Services of Johnson County$50,000To support the design and implementation of housing policy proposals that prioritize safe, stable, and affordable housing for residents of Johnson Co.

The Policy and Civic Engagement Grants are the first round of grants awarded by Health Forward in 2021. Deadlines for our 2021 funding opportunities are available at

Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006