GIH Celebrates 30 Years of Helping Grantmakers Improve the Health of All People
March 1, 2012
In 2012 Grantmakers In Health (GIH) celebrates its 30th anniversary. Ever since our modest beginnings as a three-year trial program of the Foundation Center, our charge has been straightforward: serve the field of health philanthropy to improve the health of all people. Today, GIH continues to carry out this challenging and rewarding mission, thanks in no small part to the ongoing support of our Funding Partners. We look forward to many more years of informing the field and meeting the changing needs of health philanthropy.
From the beginning, networking, information exchange, educational programming, and technical assistance have been among the primary ways that GIH has served health funders. By staying abreast of current and emerging issues, collaborating with other affinity groups, and communicating with federal agencies, we have developed linkages to increase the effectiveness and influence of health grantmakers. We have encouraged the strategic use of scarce philanthropic resources, exchanges with leaders from other fields, information sharing between national and local/regional funders, communication with the public sector at all levels, and awareness of the need to work across sectors because of the interdependence of health with wider social and economic forces. Our commitment to the values of collegiality and candid exchange among grantmakers has been a constant.
Over the years, we have added both breadth and depth to our programming, woven a stronger policy focus into our work, and expanded our offerings on operational issues, not simply for the sake of change but to increase the utility of what we offer the field. Our early work focused on access to care, health disparities, children’s health, and health care reform. Those areas are still priorities, with the addition of aging, behavioral health, foundation operations, healthy eating/active living, integrative health, oral health, public health, public policy strategies, quality, and the social determinants of health. Other program-related innovations include the Annual Meeting on Health Philanthropy, audioconferences and webinars, publications, the Fall Forum, The Art & Science of Health Grantmaking, Issue Dialogues and strategy sessions, the Funding Partner Directory, the grants and initiatives database, and the Support Center. These changes reflect both our growing organizational capacity and our ongoing efforts to find new, effective ways to connect and inform grantmakers.
In 1982, GIH had 12 funding partners. Today, there are close to 250. Our success as a resource to grantmakers depends on your involvement. Working together, we can create a home for health philanthropy that evolves along with the changes in our vital field.