Ren Che investments reflect scalable innovations in environment and empowerment programs that promote healthy, resilient, engaged and just communities.
With support from Ren Che Foundation, Spark Northwest initiated Solarize the Land Trust to bring solar power to permanently affordable homes. Spark Northwest connected with families residing within the Homestead Land Trust by partnering with the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle, which led workshops in fourteen languages to provide information about solar energy. They guided interested homeowners to select a solar installer that would meet their needs. Grant funding provided funds to cover most or all installation costs for families with limited financial resources. Ten homes were selected to add solar power in 2019, which will deliver many thousands of dollars in energy savings over time. This successful approach, combing a streamlined group purchase process with multicultural outreach and a suite of solar incentives, is an exciting new model for communities across the country and an exemplar of coupling affordable housing objectives with clean energy priorities.
MAHERY (Madagascar Health and Environmental Research)
Maroantsetra region, Madagascar
Ren Che is honored to support Madagascar Health and Environmental Research (MAHERY)’s 2017-2019 pilot of mHealth surveillance to connect environmental and health data and decision-making and its continued expansion in 2020.
MAHERY’s project collects community-level health data via trained community health workers using tablets to better elucidate baseline disease burden in rural, rainforest and coastal communities in the Maroantsetra region of
Madagascar. MAHERY then connects standardized, systematic and longitudinal human health and environmental data to track the relationship between environmental integrity and health outcomes. MAHERY’s work has the potential to inform decision-making related to interventions and adaptations for protecting human health in a changing environment.
Northwest Symphony Orchestra Symphony for Students
Ren Che Foundation provided funding for the Northwest Symphony Orchestra’s (NWSO) 2016-17 and 2017-18 Symphony for Students program. Symphony for Students introduces school-age children to classical music and the performing arts by providing educational enrichment and free concert tickets for families. Through the program, NWSO musicians mentor students who may not otherwise have access to music education resources or symphony experiences. Symphony for Students encourages young people to develop a passion for music, enriching their lives culturally and academically.
Ren Che Foundation grants support the continuation of the program in Highline School District for another year, and expansion to Federal Way School District. Ren Che Foundation makes investments in programs like Symphony for Students to serve as a catalyst and model for improving lives through music education and expanding access to enrichment.
UW Center for Health and the Global Environment
The realities of climate change require public health systems to adapt to reduce climate-related stress on health infrastructure and to address climate-exacerbated health outcomes. However, there are currently no tools to characterize health systems’ adaptive capacity. The Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington, with support from Ren Che Foundation, is developing tools and metrics for evaluating climate-related vulnerabilities in health systems. These tools will establish a framework for assessing adaptive capacity (e.g. resources, motivation, leadership, governance, learning capacity) in the health sector, and support public health adaptation planning at local and country levels. The adaptive capacity framework for health systems will be completed in 2018.
PATH Special Initiative on Nutrition Innovation
In 2016, Ren Che Foundation provided early-stage funding to global health and technology leader, PATH, in support of innovations at the intersection of nutrition, health, environment and climate. Funding supported initiation of an interdisciplinary collaboration to improve the health of people and the planet.
LifeWire Housing Stability Program
The LifeWire Housing Stability Program aims to prevent homelessness and is based on a model that reinforces and enhances domestic violence survivors’ autonomy and self-determination. The Ren Che Foundation provided funding in 2016 to LifeWire in support of the Housing Stability Program reducing the number of families facing the impossible dilemma between abuse and homelessness. In 2016, the Housing Stability Program rehoused 99 families with 96% still stably housed after six months. Ren Che support helped expand the number of families empowered through the Housing Stability Program to avoid poverty and homelessness.