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Since the Children’s Health program’s inception two years ago, the Foundation has invested more than $1.5 million in highly innovative, collaborative projects that address oral health, obesity prevention and behavioral health issues for children in our region.  More than 11 nonprofit organizations received vital support for their transformative work that addresses persistent public health issues for underserved children and families.  
Moving forward, Cambia Health Foundation will focus its investments on children’s behavioral health in our 4-state region – Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Washington. Research and community needs assessments point to children’s behavioral health as an increasingly serious public health issue both nationally and locally. We believe it is critically important to invest in work that identifies innovative solutions to health inequities, promotes cross-sectoral collaboration and addresses children’s health needs holistically.  Children’s behavioral health needs present themselves in all areas of society – from pediatrician’s offices and schools to juvenile justice systems and foster homes. The social and health consequences of unidentified, untreated mental health issues in children are broad, expensive and potentially devastating for families and communities.
Kaiser’s landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study – and its far-reaching implications for public health - continues to gain attention as those in the health care, education, and juvenile justice sectors grapple with what appears to be a national epidemic of mental illness. The study demonstrates that those who experience adverse childhood experiences (such as abuse and neglect) are much more likely to experience behavioral health/mental health issues, demonstrate unhealthy behaviors and develop physical health problems later in life (including heart disease and diabetes) leading to high health care costs and even early death. Recent studies indicate that nearly half of the children in the United States have experienced one or more incidents of trauma.
In addition to the high prevalence of trauma, our region – especially rural communities – continues to experience mental health provider shortages. Primary care providers are frequently called upon to address behavioral health concerns that commonly present themselves in pediatrician’s offices. Coordinated, integrated care is needed to provide children and youth with the services necessary to mitigate the serious health consequences of untreated mental health issues.
Focus Area

We will fund innovative, evidence-based behavioral health projects that impact underserved children, particularly those that promote cross-sectoral collaboration and coordinated care. Special attention will be paid to those projects that address health disparities and identify and mitigate risk factors such as childhood trauma. 

We seek to partner with nonprofit organizations that: 
  • Foster collaboration between parents, health care providers, schools, and other child-serving organizations that provide evidence-based treatment to children with behavioral health issues.
  • Provide school-based, integrated behavioral health services to underserved children.
  • Address and mitigate the impact of toxic stress and trauma on underserved children and families.

Guidelines and Criteria

This information is intended to provide a framework for the strategies and priorities in the children’s health funding track.  Grant request amounts vary, but generally range up to $50,000 or up to $100,000 per year with multi-year funding considered.  Request amounts should be reflective of the size and scope of both the project and the organization.  To be competitive in the application process, all projects should include: 
  • Support from the organization’s leadership.
  • Alignment between the organization’s core mission and the proposed project.
  • Well-defined project goals and measurable objectives.
  • An evaluation plan that includes measurement tools and techniques.
  • A plan to communicate outcomes and lessons learned to appropriate audiences.
  • Diverse or potentially diverse funding sources and sustainability plans. 


  • Applicant organizations must be a nonprofit (501c3) or public entity.
  • Projects should focus on benefiting residents and communities in our Oregon, Washington, Utah and/or Idaho service areas.

Contact Us

Although we do accept unsolicited proposals through an on-line application that starts with a letter of inquiry, potential applicants are highly encouraged to contact Foundation staff (Kathleen Pitcher Tobey at (801) 333-5575 or to determine if there is a potential fit within our strategies and priorities. 


For additional insight into the Foundation’s goals and the research that informs our grant making strategies, please consult the following resources:
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. Kaiser Permanente Health Appraisal Clinic and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Behavioral Health for All. Grantmakers in Health. March 16, 2015.
Community Pediatrics: Navigating the Intersection of Medicine, Public Health, and the Social Determinants of Children’s Health. American Academy of Pediatrics. February 2013.
Intervening Early to Address Children’s Health Disparities. Grantmakers in Health. April 19, 2010.
Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of a Nation, 2015-2018. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2014.
The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress. Pediatrics. December 26, 2011.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Responding to Adverse Childhood Experiences. Grantmakers in Health. December 16, 2013.
Schools as Entry Points for Children’s Mental Health Services. Grantmakers in Health. January 18, 2010.
Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities. Robert Wood Johnson, Commission to Build a Healthier America. January 2014.

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