Six years ago, Palm Health Foundation made a risky decision. Dissatisfied with the short-term gains of traditional responsive grantmaking, we launched the Healthier Together initiative in an effort to forge a deeper connection to community through the social determinants of health.
COVID-19 has not been an equal opportunity pandemic. It has impacted Latinx, Black, and Indigenous communities; immigrants, older adults, and the uninsured more profoundly than the general population. At the start of the public health crisis and several weeks after, the impact on these communities remained invisible with devastating health consequences.
At The Colorado Health Foundation, we are relentlessly committed to advancing health equity and believe it exists when there are no avoidable, unfair or systemically-caused differences in health status. To live into this, we have implemented principles of diversity, equity and inclusion into our vision and cornerstones, and our daily operations. While we are not experts, we can offer a glimpse of what some of this experimentation looks like in practice in our grantmaking, evaluation, and communications functions.
In Texas, the lack of access to health care, coupled with inadequate and under-resourced systems, has had a profoundly negative impact on communities of color and underserved areas. COVID-19 has laid bare the severity of these issues even more so. These factors, and our commitment to achieving health equity, have informed the St. David’s Foundation’s primary care safety net strategy.
Health Forward Foundation is celebrating 15 years of grantmaking. In this time, the foundation has anchored access to safety net health care for those most in need in the Kansas City region. Along the way, we have learned valuable lessons about maximizing our investments through innovations and partnerships to benefit those most in need.
Some foundations institute time-limited initiatives to maximize resources. Others adopt a spend-down approach to have impact within a short organizational lifespan. Both situations provide opportunity for a health-focused foundation to accomplish goals with urgency, but pose the challenge of doing so without the luxury of time. ClearWay Minnesota and Missouri Foundation for Health have embraced strategic and tactical advantages of being life-limited and having time-limited programs, respectively, to address persistent health issues.
Community foundations are often in the best position to bring partners together, across sectors and geographies, and to tackle the complex set of issues facing their residents. They represent a network that can serve as a powerful force, including to improve health outcomes. Recognizing this, Kansas Health Foundation launched the Giving Resources to Our World Initiative with the goal of strengthening local philanthropy in communities across Kansas.
Inadequate access to mental health services, diabetes, and obesity are the top-ranked critical service gaps in virtually all community health needs assessments conducted by local health departments and nonprofit hospitals throughout Virginia. Diabetes and depression are also among the top three conditions treated in Virginia’s health safety net organizations.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust was compelled to do our part. Like most philanthropic organizations, we were determined to maximize impact and make grants quickly, while also adhering to our due diligence standards.
From Citizen-Led Ballot Initiative to Community-Centered Solutions for Mental Health and Substance Misuse
Our mission is to address Denver’s mental health and substance misuse needs by growing community-informed solutions, dismantling stigma, and turning the community’s desire to help into action. In less than one year of operation, we have funded 41 organizations and five City agencies and provided $17.3 million in funding to the Denver community.