March 5, 2021

Cheryl Kelly names The GrowHaus as recipient of $10k award

The 2020 David Lawrence Community Service Award winner for Kaiser Permanente in Colorado is passionate about food and health.

Cheryl Kelly and Tobie Taylor-McPhail volunteering in the GrowHaus kitchen.

Cheryl Kelly, investigator for the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research, is among 11 winners of the Kaiser Permanente 2020 David Lawrence Community Service Award. The award is named in honor of David M. Lawrence, MD, a former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and lifelong advocate for improving health. Kaiser Permanente makes a $10,000 charitable contribution on behalf of each winner to the nonprofit of their choice.

The GrowHaus is a nonprofit that exists to provide healthy and affordable food to the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea community in Denver. This mostly Latino community is under-resourced with very little access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.

Kelly has served on The GrowHaus board of directors since 2018. In 2020, she was voted to the executive committee of the board and serves as secretary.

Kelly oversees board governance and processes as well as supports other executive committee functions, such as financial and governance oversight of the organization. She also leads an evaluation and learning committee to help The GrowHaus understand and educate others on the impact they have in the community.

“I’m passionate about food and health,” said Kelly. “My volunteer time at The GrowHaus allows me to share that passion with others and to help ensure others see the connection between food and health.”

“I’m also in research at Kaiser Permanente, so I bring my research and data skills to The GrowHaus to help them better document their impact and tell their story.”

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, The GrowHaus has taken several steps to support residents of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea, ensuring that they are receiving food and have information and resources to support themselves in this difficult moment. The GrowHaus is packing and distributing weekly emergency food boxes to 550 families, providing 2,500 kids and adults with nourishment and comfort. See how you can donate to support emergency food distribution.

What is the David Lawrence Community Service Award?

At Kaiser Permanente, it’s not unusual for employees and physicians to wear many hats, including one called “volunteer.” Each year, a handful of our inspirational colleagues are recognized as recipients of the David Lawrence Community Service Award.

For Dr. Lawrence, the community service award named in his honor is about people’s humanity and empathy for those less fortunate. “Giving back is an essential human act, reflecting the opportunity to serve others, improve the communities we live in, and expand one's own horizons,” said Dr. Lawrence.

“When one learns why people become involved in those kinds of activities, one can't help but be impressed with both the dedication of the individuals and the sense of enormous gratitude and satisfaction they derive from becoming involved this way.”

Awardees are selected because they’ve had a significant impact to the overall health of a community or population. This includes such things as increasing access to health care for the underserved, eliminating disparities in health outcomes of racial and ethnic minorities, addressing the social determinants of health, and being strong stewards of our natural resources.