It is with a mix of joy and sadness that we announce that after 18 years Osula Evadne Rushing, Vice President for Program and Strategy at Grantmakers In Health, is leaving to rejoin the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) as Senior Vice President for Strategic Engagement.
It was so wonderful to see everyone in Miami at the 2022 Grantmakers In Health Annual Conference, especially those who joined us for the first time, and to learn more about the work you are doing to achieve better health for all through better philanthropy. The conference occurred at an important moment for our country. As Admiral Rachel Levine, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, said during our strategy session on advancing LGBTQ health equity “even after decades of social progress, the most vulnerable among us continue to suffer.” The conference provided an opportunity for us to reconnect, to reflect on the considerable health challenges facing the United States, and to learn and grow together as we explore and share solutions.
By the time this article is published, we’ll be marking several anniversaries of devastating natural disasters in Louisiana, all of which arrived late in summer. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita infamously decimated the Southern Louisiana area in 2005. Fifteen years later, in the span of just two consecutive summers, Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta, and Ida battered a weary state still mired in the thick of COVID-19.
For organizations like the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund (the Fund) and Prevention Institute (PI), GIH conferences have served as a critical space to bring together advocates across sectors and spark new ideas to address complex health issues. Inspired by a PI-led session on upstream prevention and health equity at GIH’s March 2016 annual conference, the Fund noted the promising landscape for a grantmaking initiative that could focus on root causes of poor health and dismantling systems of inequity, and a partnership was born.
Across the United States we are seeing a coordinated campaign to restrict lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights and limit access to affirming, lifesaving health care. According to the Equality Federation, nearly 400 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced across the country in 2021, and over 240 bills have already been filed in 2022. These policies directly impact the health and safety of members of the LGBTQ community. Recent data from The Trevor Project show that 66 percent of LGBTQ youth, including 85 percent of transgender and/or nonbinary youth, report that recent debates around state laws to restrict the rights of transgender people have negatively affected their mental health.
Philanthropy is increasingly embracing narrative change as a tool for building public and political will to advance equitable policies and structural change. Yet philanthropic narrative investments to advance racial justice and health equity are still relatively new and disparate. The work is often siloed, lessons and insights are not often shared across efforts, and there is also a wide range of definitions of narratives, perspectives, and approaches on how to shift them.
We are experiencing a watershed moment for philanthropy-funded social change efforts in the United States. The partnerships, knowledge, and resources that funders leverage have never been more important in contributing to the conditions that communities need for everyone to thrive, without exceptions. With such a rapid pace of change happening all around us, how can funders make the most of their role in supporting and advancing large-scale, transformative impact? The answer is to look forward with the benefit of hindsight and with partners who understand where and how to take those next steps.
The Ethel and James Flinn Foundation is accepting proposals from nonprofit organizations that deliver mental health care and services in southeast Michigan (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw).
The latest on transitions from the field.