At Kaiser Permanente, our mission compels us to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. Building healthier and more equitable communities takes dedication, and we continue to make progress. Much of our work involves investing in our communities and working with community organizations, government leaders, and other partners.
In 2022, we maintained our focus on increasing equitable economic opportunities in our communities. People who are financially secure can more easily access the things that promote good health, such as safe and stable housing, education, and healthy food. We helped support more than 9,000 entrepreneurs with technical assistance and business coaching, and we used our organization’s purchasing power to support diverse small businesses. We spent $3.49 billion in 2022 with businesses owned by women and people of color.
We also helped support over 230,000 people through programs that strengthened household finances, provided access to college pathways and job training, and granted scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate health care degrees. Many of these programs specifically focus on helping people of color, who have historically faced gaps in income and earning potential.
Good nutrition and good health are closely linked. We work to ensure our members and communities have access to, and can afford, healthy food. In 2022, we reached out to 1 million members in need to offer help applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. We helped members apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. We also provided healthy food boxes and nutrition education to members with diabetes facing challenges getting enough food. In September 2022, we pledged to invest $50 million in programs that help vulnerable people meet their food and nutrition needs. Our commitment will improve health in our communities and support the Biden administration’s goal to end hunger in America by 2030.
Climate change is negatively impacting the health and well-being of people in our communities. That’s why we are working to slow down climate change by minimizing our environmental impact. In 2022, we committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. Our goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. We’ll do this by continuing to evolve how we power our facilities, manage waste, and purchase food and medical supplies. We want to serve as a model for others in health care to follow.
Access to affordable housing continues to be a major need in our communities. Chronic homelessness can have devastating effects on a person’s long-term health — and it’s a troubling reality for far too many people. In 2022, we expanded the size of our Thriving Communities Fund to $400 million. This has put us on track to create and preserve 30,000 affordable housing units by 2030. We’re proud to have supported the mental, physical, and social health needs of 180,000 people in our communities — including Kaiser Permanente members — experiencing homelessness in 2022. We provided them in-person and virtual care and connected them with medical respite care as needed.
In 2022, we continued to strengthen our Thriving Schools initiative, which supports thousands of K-12 school systems in being equitable, healthy, vibrant places. Specifically, we advanced the work of our Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment and RISE, our Resilience in School Environments initiative. These are both no-cost, evidence-informed approaches to helping schools and districts find ways to improve the well-being of students, staff, and teachers.
Gun violence is a public health crisis. In 2022, we established the Center for Gun Violence Research and Education. We’ve committed $25 million to the center. We’ve also partnered with the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention to coordinate the center’s efforts. The center’s goal is to reduce gun violence in the U.S., including intimate partner violence and suicide.
The third year of the COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges to the people in our communities. We continued supporting outreach campaigns to encourage vaccination. We also continued donating personal protective equipment and other supplies to community-based organizations. As new variants of the coronavirus emerged, we partnered to develop communication toolkits that help local organizations encourage people to get tested for the virus and get their booster shots. Our efforts focused on supporting the needs of people most impacted by the pandemic, including Asian Americans and Black and Latino people. For information about our work to promote equal care for all, see the Health Equity section of this annual report.
As we began looking toward a post-pandemic future, it became clear that we needed to work with other national health leaders to strengthen public health in the United States. We dedicated substantial resources to supporting public health infrastructure. Our aim is to promote equitable health outcomes and support our country to be prepared for the next public health crisis.
Kaiser Permanente senior leaders took part in several national policy discussions and roundtables, including at the White House, on topics ranging from drug prices, health care coverage subsidies, hunger and nutrition, and climate and health, among others.
The pandemic also highlighted the importance of helping ensure vulnerable people, including older adults and people with low incomes, get the care they need. We participate in Medicaid and provide medical financial assistance and charitable health coverage. We also partner with an array of safety-net organizations that provide health care for vulnerable populations. In 2022, we served nearly 1.4 million Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program participants. Through our Charitable Health Coverage programs, we provided health care coverage to over 12,000 people with low incomes who don’t have access to other public or private health coverage. Our Medical Financial Assistance program covered $433 million in medical costs for over 319,000 patients. The program provides temporary financial assistance to patients with low incomes who need help paying for all or part of their medical care received from Kaiser Permanente.
Our work in 2022 is highlighted further in our annual Community Health Snapshot.