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Reflections from the Board Chair and President & CEO
There are times when you reflect on the work that has been done and you realize that it carried much more significance than you could have ever anticipated. This past year was one of those times. Our focus was on advancing health equity through the social determinants of health. Addressing social determinants is not only important for improving overall health, but also for reducing disparities that are often rooted in long-established policies and practices that fuel social and economic disadvantages.
During FY 2019, our grantmaking focused on efforts to address health outcomes negatively impacted by social factors such as housing, employment, education, workforce development, safety, transportation, and safe neighborhoods. We have learned through years of public health research that race, racism, and poverty are the roots of many of the disparities we see in this work. The community advocates and leaders behind this work focused on diverse strategies, policies, and programs to advance health equity and social justice in communities across our state.
In addition to the focus on social determinants, we encouraged collaboration and cross-sector partnerships. Grants were awarded as core operating funds because nonprofit organizations and communities need resources that allow them to lead adaptively instead of technically. They need financial support that allows for innovation, bold decision-making and calculated risk-taking. And they need time to better cultivate the conditions that lead to collective impact. When that happens, we see more effective advocacy efforts that focus on policies and programs.
As we release this report, we are listening, learning, and reflecting on our role as a health foundation. The Sunflower Board of Trustees and staff are encouraged and inspired by our many partners advocating for real change in advancing health and racial equity for all Kansans. We will strengthen our role as a catalyst to advance understanding and community conversations around what creates better health and what drives inequities.
As a member of the philanthropic community, we can and will strive to do better.
Andrea Krug Kraus