Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) was formed in December 2002 through an action of then Attorney General Jim Ryan against an Illinois insurance carrier. This action and a settlement of approximately $125 million established the only statewide private foundation focused solely on the health needs of children in Illinois. In its first 15 years ILCHF has invested more than $75 million to improve the health and wellness of children and families through grants focused primarily in the areas of children’s oral and mental health.
ILCHF’s mission is to cultivate, support, and promote initiatives that improve the health and wellness of children in Illinois as it works toward fulfillment of ILCHF’s vision that every child in Illinois grows up healthy. As ILCHF’s founding documents indicate, the foundation was “organized and to be operated for the aid and benefit of the children of Illinois” with a focus on prevention, treatment, public education, and advocacy of and for child health-related matters.
The foundation’s focus is the health and wellness of the children in the state of Illinois. It works through grantmaking, sharing the work of its grantees, and engaging in and supporting advocacy particularly in the areas of children’s oral health and mental health.
Program Information: ILCHF has three primary focus areas: children’s oral health, children’s mental health and unmet or emerging needs. Children’s oral and mental health account for approximately 90 percent of ILCHF’s grantmaking. For children’s oral health and mental health, ILCHF’s specific strategies include expanding access to care, workforce development, public education and awareness, and advocacy.
Unmet or emerging needs—approximately 10 percent of ILCHF’s grantmaking—allows the Foundation to engage in targeted funding in areas in which it believes there is an opportunity to make a specific impact. The current focus areas for the unmet/emerging needs portfolio are lead poisoning in children and treatment adherence for children with chronic health issues.
ILCHF is committed to sustainability, evaluation that drives learning and accountability, fostering partnerships, and collaboration and sharing knowledge.
Total Assets: $149.7 million FY17
Amount Dedicated to Health-Related Grants: approximately $5.1 million annually
- Special Initiatives and/or Representative Health and Human Services Grants
Children’s Mental Health Access Grants—to establish or expand an organization’s ability to provide mental health services to children in Illinois. ILCHF approved 15 grants ranging from $55,000 to $600,000 each. ($3.8 million)
Oral Health Capacity Building—to establish new or expand existing oral health services for children in Illinois. ILCHF approved 11 grants ranging from $100,000 to $400,000 each. ($2.8 million)
Innovation and Collaboration Tour—to support innovative and collaborative approaches to addressing the health care needs of children in Illinois. ILCHF made 23 grants ranging from $11,361 to $100,000 each. ($1.79 million)
Children’s Mental Health Initiative 2.0—to support Illinois communities in developing systems of care for children’s mental health. ILCHF anticipates four grants of approximately $2.25 million each over seven years. ($9 million)
Children’s Oral Health General Anesthesia Initiative — to increase the capacity to provide general anesthesia services related to children’s oral health. ILCHF anticipates 4-10 grants. ($6 million)
Role of Philanthropy in Meeting Pressing Needs
“At ILCHF we deeply appreciate the opportunity to work creatively and collaboratively with other funders. The ability for us and our partners to amplify our collective impact and the impact of our grantees has the potential to move system change forward. In late 2015, ILCHF, in partnership with Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation (DDILF) and Michael Reese Health Trust funded a comprehensive statewide assessment of oral health services in Illinois. In late 2016, “Oral Health in Illinois” and a companion website were published.
We have been told that the assessment, report and accompanying website are the first of their kind in the nation. The website, which is supported by DDILF, is a valuable free resource for any community which is looking to understand that community’s ability to provide access to oral health services. The depth of our partnership, from the drafting of the RFP, to reviewing applications, to interviewing and selecting our research partners, to publishing the report allowed us to provide a resource that has a level of excellence and ongoing usefulness that was only attainable through effective collaboration”
–Heather Higgins Alderman, President