Message from the Board Chair and the President & CEO
The term Place Matters is not new to public health. It’s been long recognized that the places where we live, work, learn, and play affect our individual and collective health. And we have observed through our own work that environmental factors—from local economic opportunities, to social interactions with neighbors, to the physical environment, to proximity to health care, to access to local grocery stores—all impact health.
This year, the Sunflower Foundation’s work took us to small towns and rural communities throughout the state and connected us to passionate, resourceful, and proud Kansans who are working hard to make their communities stronger, healthier, and better for their residents. Why? Because it’s their home—their place.
In this year’s Annual Report, we are sharing stories from a variety of Kansas communities that we think shed light—each in their own way—on why place matters.
The first story features the four sovereign Native tribes in Kansas, which have come together to work on common health challenges, creating the Kansas Tribal Health Summit to that end. Each of these communities has challenges unique to their particular place, but they have resolved to work together to improve the health of all tribes’ members. Place matters.
The second story features three health care safety net providers that received Sunflower Foundation Capacity Building grants this year. Each of these clinics provides essential health care services to their community. We know that organizational capacity is crucial to building and sustaining a strong health care safety net and that living in a community with access to health care is critical to good health. Place matters.
Finally, the third story features one of nine grantees participating in our HERO project, Sunflower Foundation’s "Healthy Eating: Rural Opportunities" program. Many communities across Kansas are facing serious challenges to keeping or reviving their local grocery stores. This is a critical issue for these communities, which are often designated as “food deserts,” as the lack of access to fresh, healthy foods affects the health of all residents, especially the most vulnerable. Place matters.
The opportunities we have—or don’t have—to be healthy at home, work, school, and play are often determined largely by where we live. This report highlights the stories of people who are Kansans either by birth or by choice, working to make their community a better place.
When we build better places, we make better lives.
On behalf of Sunflower’s Board of Trustees, we thank our many grantees and partners for their commitment to improving the health of Kansans.
|Billie G. Hall|
President & CEO