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Kaiser Permanente Northwest has awarded $605,000 in multiyear grants to three nonprofits serving Marion and Polk counties.

Kaiser Permanente Northwest has awarded $605,000 in multiyear grants to three nonprofits serving Marion and Polk counties.

These grants complement the organization's annual community service events honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The grants support Kaiser Permanente's mission to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves. They address health where it begins: in schools, homes and workplaces.

Two of the three grants were awarded through the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at the Northwest Health Foundation, which focuses on three funding areas: early life, education and economic opportunity:

• A $200,000 grant has been awarded to Evolve Workforce & Property Management in Woodburn. Funds will support increasing economic opportunities for low-income people in the Willamette Valley, especially farmworkers and their families, by expanding a job-training program.

• A $80,000 grant has been awarded to the Western States Center, which focuses on racial, gender and economic justice. Funds will support policy efforts to improve reproductive health among the Latino population in Marion and Polk counties.

The final grant was awarded as one of seven Kaiser Permanente grants, totaling $2.27 million, to reduce homelessness in vulnerable populations statewide:

• A $325,000 grant has been awarded to Catholic Community Services of the Mid-Willamette Valley and Central Coast to provide housing support services to individuals struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues in Marion County. Funds will also be used to advocate for additional affordable housing units statewide.

"These grants will help create new and equal opportunities for Marion County residents to live a long, healthy life," said Deborah Sailler, M.D., mid-Valley physician service area director with Kaiser Permanente, in a press release. "All community members should have this opportunity, no matter where you live, where you're from or where you work."

Dozens of Kaiser Permanente employees demonstrated their passion for community by volunteering their time at six community service sites Jan. 16-18 (in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day). Service projects included physicians providing free care at the Salem Free Clinic, employees organizing books at the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation and employees weeding and mulching plantings at the Marion-Polk Food Share's farm.

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