Community Health Plan of Washington awards $230k to nonprofit organizations

Olympia Edwards, founder and executive director of the Edmonds-based Project Girl Mentoring Program, said the organization will use the money it received from Community Health Plan of Washington to grow its program. (Image via Youtube)

Aiming to promote equity in health care, Community Health Plan of Washington donated $230,000 to multiple local community-based organizations that directly serve communities of color and others disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic — including the Edmonds-based Project Girl Mentoring Program and the Lynnwood-based Latino Education Training Institute.

Community Health Plan of Washington, a not-profit Medicaid and Medicare managed care plan, on Wednesday awarded $10,000 to 23 organizations across the state.

“Given the stark health disparities that COVID has shed light on, we have adjusted our community support program accordingly,” said CEO Leanne Berge. “The pandemic has disportionately impacted people of color.”

According to a National Urban League report, twice as many Black people and three times as many Latino people have died or been hospitalized due to COVID-19 compared to white people. Berge said racism and other social determinants of health like environment, housing, education and other system factors associated with poverty are to blame.

“There are many reasons for these disparities but what is clear is the underlying systemic inequities, the social determinants of health, are the underlying cause.”

Project Girl Mentoring Program in Edmonds was among the organizations to be selected. Project Girl encourages girls to make positive life choices to maximize their potential and provides life skills and critical thinking about issues facing women of color, said founder and executive director Olympia Edwards. 

“We work with girls to help them develop their coping skills and their life skills to give them tools and techniques that they can transfer from the setting that we’re into to real life,” she said.

Edwards said the funds will be used to offer support to students during the new school year by providing them with TI-83 series calculators and headphones to listen to online lessons. Project Girl is also looking to partner with other organizations and continue mentorship through telementoring girls over the phone or online.

The following organizations each received a $10,000 check:

To watch the full check presentation and remarks, visit CHPW’s YouTube page.

–By Cody Sexton

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