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Nontraditional Actors

The fields of health and health philanthropy have seen dramatic changes in recent years. Policy transformations and demographic shifts are reshaping the U.S. health care system, resulting in vastly greater demands on service providers and nonprofit organizations working to improve the health of Americans. New demands on the health system require a more diverse range of approaches to serve additional people and to achieve greater impact (GIH and Arabella Advisors 2013).

To meet these demands, a new set of actors has entered the field of health philanthropy. These nontraditional actors, or NTAs, include corporations and corporate foundations, venture capitalists, development institutions, next-generation donors, on-line giving platforms, and other emerging hybrids of for-profit/nonprofit intermediaries. NTAs can have a significant impact on health and health care, especially if the extensive content knowledge of traditional health foundations informs their work. And traditional foundations can stretch limited resources and increase their own effectiveness by working with NTAs.

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