By Kristin Campbell Reed, Executive Director, Genentech Corporate & Employee Giving and The Genentech Foundation
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For more than 40 years, Genentech has pushed the boundaries of science to improve the lives of all people with serious and life threatening diseases. The painful events of 2020 have laid bare the unacceptable disparities in access to quality health care, education, and opportunity facing Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other People of Color. Racial inequity exists across so many of the areas that are key to our mission — access to care, quality clinical data, ability to pursue and succeed in scientific and medical careers.
Several years ago we started to ask deeper questions to identify innovative, lasting solutions that address systemic racism in health care and STEM education pathways, and the urgency to deliver on this vision is more real than ever.
We believe that philanthropy has a key role to play in driving change. But to be effective, charitable giving must be focused on action, and grant-makers must apply a racial equity lens to every stage of the process.
In our most recent Genentech and Genentech Foundation call for grants of 2020, we sought out to support groundbreaking solutions to promote health equity and diversity in STEM from Kindergarten to career through two funds.
- The Health Equity Innovation Fund is specifically aimed at reducing disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes by, for example, strengthening trust and community engagement in clinical trials between communities of color and health care providers (which our landmark Health Equity Study revealed is critically needed for medically disenfranchised patients) and incorporating bias training and accountability with health care providers to achieve high-quality care for all patients.
- The Diverse Future of STEM Fund reinforces our commitment to breaking down barriers for underrepresented students across all stages of their education journey, from K-12 to postgraduate support, by providing mentorship support, training, and resources to physicians and researchers of color pursuing careers in science and medicine.
Nearly 380 academic institutions, health systems, nonprofits, patient groups, think tanks and community organizations applied. During the selection process, we prioritized applications that demonstrated principles of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the design of their projects, as well as efforts led by People of Color or that embraced deep partnership and power-sharing with historically marginalized communities.
By December 2020, we awarded $16 million to 40 grant recipients nationwide. We invite you to take a closer look at three grantees and their programs, as well as learn more about all of the organizations and their projects here.
This focused approach to grant-making — targeting deep, persistent barriers to equity — is a model we intend to continue, and hope to see embraced by others in both the private and public sectors alike to increase our collective impact.
At Genentech, charitable giving directly supports our enterprise-wide commitment to foster belonging within and beyond our walls, advance inclusive research and health equity in our industry at large, and transform society through meaningful partnerships in our communities.
Last year alone, we invested $90 million — our highest annual contribution to date — toward patient support, STEM education and health equity programs. Like many companies, we also responded with urgency to meet the needs of the Covid-19 crisis specifically, which exacerbated health care disparities for communities of color in alarming ways. We committed $42 million of our charitable funding in the spring of 2020 which has since been granted to emergency relief efforts and much-needed resources for patient organizations to support continuity of care, community organizations assisting the most vulnerable at a local level, and schools and universities with underserved populations working to ensure students don’t fall behind. And we recognize that vulnerable populations will continue to need our support after the pandemic subsides and recovery begins.
By leveraging charitable giving to uncover and address the root causes of disparities in health care and education, and working together to commit to change — I believe we have a real chance at true progress.
View the full list of Genentech’s 2020 Call for Grants Recipients here.