A partner in the community – a partner for good

We believe that you’re only as happy and healthy as the world around you. And true health care isn’t limited to clinics, hospitals and health plans. That’s why you’ll see us out in the communities where we live. HealthPartners teams are creating programs to stop the stigma around mental illnesses, working to end the opioid epidemic, building affordable housing, and addressing the health equity emergency. We’re part of events and initiatives that affect change for the better, from Little Moments Count, Twin Cities Pride, Make It OK and more.

Doing good for the people around us. That’s being a partner for good.

Celebrating 10 years of improving community health and ending mental illness stigma

What a difference a decade makes. In 2012, we launched two initiatives in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin: PowerUp and Make It OK.


PowerUp is a community-wide initiative that makes it easy and fun for kids and families to eat better, move more and feel good. In the more than 10 years since it launched, PowerUp has grown and expanded across multiple communities with new partners, digital and print resources, school programs and community outreach. Today it continues to reflect HealthPartners’ commitment to healthy kids, families and communities, and remains more important than ever.

“Our kids are counting on us. And community partners have jumped on board. Communities are powering up their events. Food shelves are increasing access to fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables. And our schools are creating safe, low-cost places for kids to be active and get excited about trying fruits and veggies.”

We’re seeing the difference PowerUp makes. Over the last decade, 211,700 students participated in the School Challenge , 119,000 kids received a voucher as part of the Fruit and Veggie Rx Program, 1,000 kids learned bike safety at our bike rodeos, and we opened 40 SuperShelf sites in Minnesota .

Make It OK is a community campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illnesses. By changing attitudes about mental health and illnesses, we can increase understanding and create caring conversations.

In the past ten years we’ve made significant progress in our communities and expanded to sharing our message of hope and recovery to a global audience. In partnership with HealthPartners Institute, our IMPACT surveys have found that stigma in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, where our Make it OK presence is the largest, has decreased and people having open and honest conversations about mental health has increased.

“We are taught as children about illnesses like colds, broken bones or surgeries, but mental illnesses aren’t discussed. Mental illnesses should be discussed like diabetes … it needs to be seen as a ‘normal’ illness.”

This work is made possible by our many community partners including NAMI MN, Crow Wing Energized, Iowa, The Healthiest State Initiative, as well as our over 5000+ trained ambassadors.

Science shows that the foundation for mental health and emotional development is built early in life, as early experiences shape the architecture of the developing brain with lifelong implications to learning, health and behavior. That’s why, in 2015, HealthPartners helped launch Little Moments Count, a cross-sector initiative to raise awareness and inspire every parent and caregiver to play, talk, read and sing with the children in their life, especially from birth to age three. Little Moments Count now includes more than 70 organizations working collectively to promote the benefits of early brain development.

In partnership with Minnesota Public Radio, we’ve launched two podcasts which support this critical work and extend our outreach. Early Risers is a podcast which shares frank facts, engaging stories and real how-tos for anyone who cares about raising children with a clear-eyed understanding of cultural differences, race and implicit bias. The Little Moments Count Radio Podcast episodes first aired as live segments on community radio stations throughout Minnesota and have now been re-packaged as podcasts. Both podcasts are available on popular podcast platforms or available to stream at littlemomentscount.org/podcasts.

Our commitment to partnering with the Red Cross continues. Our organization relies heavily on the donations they receive to provide life saving treatments at our hospitals.

“Our medical teams are exceptionally grateful for these donations,” said Shelly Semerad, senior director of medical laboratories and pathology. “Our eight hospitals provide lifesaving treatment in Minnesota and Wisconsin, many times those lifesaving treatments require the use of blood products. In 2022 alone, we used over 22,000 blood products. To support this level of care, we are incredibly thankful to donors who selflessly donate the gift of life to help make this work happen. Thank you to every person who has donated, your impact across our communities does not go unnoticed, you are all Partners for Good.”

HealthPartners colleagues have heeded the call of a critically low blood shortage. In 2022, we hosted 36 drives and collected 2,655 donations, enough to potentially save 7,585 lives. Additionally, we expanded our commitment with sickle cell initiatives. Sickle cell disease will affect one out of every 365 Black or African American births. Together, we hope to raise awareness about the need for a diverse blood supply, especially to help patients with sickle cell disease. One in three African American blood donors are a match for people with sickle cell disease.

“I’m proud to be part of two great organizations that serve the Twin Cities,” said Dr. David Hamlar, Regions Hospital surgeon and board chair of the MN Red Cross. “This collaboration can help address healthcare disparities. This includes helping patients living with sickle cell through awareness campaigns, community networks, and yes, blood drives, which all help serve our communities of color.”

“From the blood donors who take the time to donate, to our labs and health care teams who use blood for patients in need, HealthPartners is proud to be part of this lifesaving cycle.”

The Teen Leadership Council develops and enhances positive characteristics of teens through hands-on learning and strengths-based leadership opportunities.

Through the TLC program, teens explore and learn about community health and the impact young people can make. 95% of participants say the TLC provides opportunities to do things they don’t get to do other places. In 2022, the TLC reached and made a difference for approximately 250,000 people through volunteering and consulting activities internally and with local organizations.

“The community as a whole is improved when they value the input of youth. Youth are creative, energetic, and have a great deal of power. When youth are engaged in our organizations, meaningful community-wide change is possible.”

We’re proud of the amazing organizations in our communities that help those that need it most. Whether offering food with SuperShelf, getting a roof over their head with Habitat for Humanity, advancing equitable care and resources with the St. Paul Bookmobile, or just having a reliable mode of transportation with community bike programs, local non-profits are making it happen and we’re happy to come together to help even more.

In 2022, we partnered with many community organizations. Here are a few highlights:

Keystone Community Services is a non-profit organization that provides social services in the community to support individuals, families and communities. With food shelves, job readiness programs for teens, tech centers, and tutoring, we’ve partnered with Keystone Community Services to host food distribution events and bike collections for those in need.

“I am incredibly thankful to work for an organization that is tied into the local community and dedicated to supporting important work.”

Penumbra Theatre Company is a St Paul based performing arts theater focusing on Black and African American plays and workshops. We’ve collaborated to bring health equity conversations to their stage including storytelling of Black maternal and infant mortality rates through a collaboratively written play “Weathering.” We’ve also collaborated on workshops that encourage open and honest conversations around mental health and illness challenges with their Let’s Talk Mental Wellness & Race series.

Open Arms prepares and delivers nourishing and culturally respectful meals to critically ill Minnesotans and their families. Many of the recipients are seen in our care system of clinics, hospitals, and specialty centers. Coming together shows our patients that we are there for them beyond our facilities.