The Healthcare Foundation is delighted to announce that this month Marc Kahn joined the organization’s Board of Directors. Marc comes onboard with three other colleagues new to the board in 2022—Montserrat Archila, Gary Barth, and Daisy Cardenas.
Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Marc earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Cincinnati and went on to earn his master’s in public administration from George Washington University in DC, where he developed a career as the editor of a national publication focusing on all aspects of federal housing policy.
He and his wife Jeanie have together developed a deep background in grant-making dating back to 1979, when they began serving on the board of the foundation established by Jeanie’s family in Baltimore, an important funder that focused on local issues and child trauma. Marc and Jeanie raised their two children in Bethesda.
“We came to Sonoma County because both of our children moved out to the Northwest,” explains Marc in a recent phone conversation. “They wanted us to move out west, but they said don’t move to Seattle or Portland, where they live,” he laughs, “but move to some place nice.”
Sonoma County, it turned out, was the perfect fit.
“We were attracted to the beauty of the area. That’s what brought us out here first,” he recalls. “Once we became established, we realized this is where we belong. It’s just such a welcoming, friendly, wonderful community. We wanted to be involved as much as we can in the community.”
They started their own family foundation, the Bancroft Foundation, to focus on access to healthcare and environmental justice. The Bancroft Foundation, which seeks to build a more equitable society, concentrates its funding in Sonoma County.
It was their earlier experience with the family foundation in Baltimore, however, that helps account for their strong interest in mental health.
“As we were leaving the East Coast, one of the major focuses of the foundation was helping children with trauma, especially children up to five years of age,” says Marc. “We wanted to bring something out here, so we brainstormed with [the Healthcare Foundation’s former executive director] Debbie Mason. We said, we want to do something that’s impactful, that deals with mental healthcare, that deals with trauma, that deals with a more diverse population. What can we do?”
Together, they came up with the Mental Health Talent Pipeline program.
“We know that there is a need for mental healthcare in the Latinx community,” says Marc. “We wanted to bring bicultural providers to the community to deliver mental healthcare. There just wasn’t access to adequate mental healthcare for all members of the community, and actually to adequate healthcare in general. We were looking at the social determinants of health outcomes, and we wanted to help level the playing field the best we can.”
“What we’re looking forward to in the future is the career development of the people who are involved in the [Mental Health Talent Pipeline]. It’s not just providing mental healthcare to the community but we’re hoping that we can inspire leadership in some of the people involved of the program. And we already see the beginnings of that…”
When asked how he thinks the program has been working so far, he is more than pleased.
“We have some wonderful people in the program. I’ve been honored to meet them. They’re committed, intelligent, and they’re going places. I’m just so thrilled that maybe we had a little part in their career development. We want to keep it going. One of the reasons I’m on the board is to make sure it keeps going.”
Moreover, Marc sees the impact of the Mental Health Talent Pipeline extending far beyond the immediate end of supporting the education of aspiring local bilingual and bicultural mental health professionals.
“What we’re looking forward to in the future is the career development of the people who are involved in the pipeline,” he says. “It’s not just providing mental healthcare to the community but we’re hoping that we can inspire leadership in some of the people involved in the program. And we already see the beginnings of that—I’m honored to be joining the board at the same time as Daisy Cardenas, who among her many roles and accomplishments is also one of our MHTP scholars. Going forward we expect to see former participants in the Mental Health Talent Pipeline in upper leadership in healthcare organizations, maybe running for political office. That, I think, is probably the secondary benefit of this program.”
As Marc prepares to join the board of the Healthcare Foundation, he sees even more opportunities ahead to level that playing field for residents of north county.
“I think the Healthcare Foundation has really evolved into a vehicle that can help eliminate some of the social inequities of the healthcare system. My passion is to make sure that healthcare options are open to everyone. This community has changed, and the Healthcare Foundation is doing a great job of changing along with the community.”