Health Forward Foundation has awarded 140 nonprofit organizations a total of $7,510,964 through a final round of applicant-defined grants.

In 2023, Health Forward is shifting to a grantmaking approach that streamlines its application process and increases its multi-year, unrestricted funding — funding that nonprofits can use however they see fit.

“Health Forward’s applicant-defined grants have helped us build trusting and impactful relationships with our community partners for more than 17 years,” said Qiana Thomason, Health Forward Foundation President/CEO. “Our new grantmaking approach honors the spirit of our applicant-defined grants by providing new ways for small, community-based organizations to partner with us.”

Since Health Forward began awarding applicant defined grants in 2005, 442 nonprofit organizations have received more than $69 million — all to support self-determined work.

This round of grant recipients covers a broad range of community-based services addressing identified needs.  Some of the service areas and programs receiving funding include:  

Maternal Health  Uzazi Village and Nurture KC both received funding in this area:  Nurture KC will use their $60,000 in funding to provide doula services to high-risk moms in their Healthy Start program, serving women from the 14 ZIP codes of KCMO and KCK with the highest rates of infant mortality. 

DENTAL AND EYE CARE  Kansas City Free Eye Clinic, Level Up Kids, and Missouri Coalition of Oral Health were among the groups receiving funding in this area.  Kc Free Eye Clinic will use their $50,000 to serve more than 800 Kansas City-area residents of all ages and ethnicities in need of eye care. 

URBAN HEALTHY FOOD DESERTS Global One Urban Farming, Kansas City’s Community Gardens, Cultivate KC and Kanbe’s all received funding to address this issue.     Global One Urban Farming will use their funds to provide at least 25,000 pounds of free organic vegetables and produce and to inspire and teach their vision of repurposing under-used and blighted city land into a productive, healthy asset.

SUPPORTING TEACHERS  Brothers Liberating Our Communities and Teachers Like Me  are both programs designed to help teachers.  Brothers Liberating Our Communities assist Black Male teachers in their daily educational role.   

CHILDREN’S DANCE  Friends of Alvin Ailey and City in Motion  To build community capacity through innovative partnership with the Linwood YMCA to provide no-cost creative dance and movement classes to individuals and families living in the Linwood Corridor and adjacent areas. $50,000

Here’s a few other areas and organizations that received funding.

AIDS BlaqOut received funding to provide HIV primary care and access to quality equitable health services to a critically underserved population. 

FINANCIAL LITERACY Exceeds Expectations received $75,000 to support financial literacy programming and expand the program’s reach among people who are unbanked for greater impact.  

YOUTH SPORTS & EDUCATION  KC United Youth Family Sports and Education Initiative will impact more than 10000 youth and families in the Kansas City area with more than just sports.  

MENTAL HEALTH  It was good to see so many programs offering mental health services but KC Mothers in Charge appeared to be the only one focusing on providing services to survivors of homicide.  

MEDICATION GAP Pharmacy of Grace received funding to increase the number of residents receiving immunizations, accessing prescription medication, and receiving medication management to reduce their reliance on emergency department services. 

To see a complete list of the grant recipients to go