Group Health Foundation is now Inatai Foundation
Name change signals a new beginning in the foundation’s
Inatai Foundation is the new name for the Washington-based grantmaking organization previously known as the Group Health Foundation. The name comes from the Chinuk Wawa , an Indigenous language from Washington, and means “across” or “other side.”
“‘Inatai’ expresses our commitment to Washington communities and the journey we’re on with grantee organizations to achieve equity and racial justice in our state,” says Nichole June Maher, president and CEO of Inatai.
The foundation was formed a few years ago from the proceeds of the sale of Group Health Cooperative to Kaiser Permanente. Its goals were to be statewide, community-oriented and equity-focused. Early on, the foundation used the term health equity to describe its work while working to broaden its definition of health to include more than health care. Racial justice has always been a leading value, but community leaders said the foundation should be more explicit about this goal.
“The years we spent listening to and building relationships with Washington communities affirmed our belief that equity and racial justice are not merely connected issues but truly inseparable goals,” explains Maher. “Last year, we updated our mission and values to clearly state our ongoing commitment to racial justice and equity, and we began to look for a name that moved us beyond health. Our new name better expresses our purpose and aligns with what community leaders said they wanted and needed from us to create change.”
The Chinook Nation, whose members speak the Chinuk Wawa language, formally granted the foundation permission to use the name Inatai. In gratitude, Inatai Foundation will provide an annual contribution to the Chinook Nation.
The foundation has grown since its formation to include team members across the state working in four distinct areas: relationship building, policy and advocacy, investment management, and grantmaking. Since the foundation began significant grantmaking in 2019, it has awarded $220 million to community organizations—with more than 80 percent of funding awarded to people-of-color-led organizations.
“Inatai believes in developing long-term relationships with organizations in every corner of Washington,” Maher emphasizes. “Our approach is grounded in genuine collaboration and connection. We want communities to be powerful decisionmakers of their own futures.”
About Inatai Foundation
Inatai Foundation is a 501(c)(4) grantmaking organization serving Washington state. Inatai
works to transform the balance of power to ensure equity and racial justice across
Washington and beyond. For more, visit www.inatai.org.