In addition to exposing the ongoing racial and ethnic health care disparities in our country, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how crucial palliative care is in supporting patients and families as they navigate serious illness. It has unfortunately also drawn attention to how (relatively) few clinicians are trained in providing palliative care.
Our agenda is bold and ambitious. It calls for us to address the entrenched systems that too often—as was so painfully exposed in 2020— act as barriers to health. Our strategy calls for us to reach out and bring together our fellow leaders and neighbors from across South Florida because we know that’s the only way to truly make a difference. Above all, because we’re not looking to bring solutions to communities. We’re looking for communities to bring solutions to life
What’s exhilarating about being a new and nimble funder is that we are not entrenched in outdated philanthropic ways. Each day we build toward our values and aspirations with our practices.
Data from across our county tell us that stress, disease, and other repercussions of discrimination take their toll on the health of Black people at an alarming rate. That is why the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg prioritizes race equity as we pursue health equity to improve population health. This necessitates working with our community to challenge the status quo and confront systems that perpetuate inequality and reinforce advantages and disadvantages along racial lines. It is relentless, slow work but necessary to create the lasting change residents deserve. We are and will be community-led by listening deeply for lived experience and solutions from the community.
Gilead knows that it will take more than medicine to end some of the greatest public health crises of our time. The social, economic, and political factors that drive infectious disease epidemics present formidable challenges to our work. But together–in partnership with communities most directly impacted–program by program, we can help improve health outcomes for the most marginalized populations and help change lives.
The beauty of philanthropy lies in its inherent flexibility and ability to adapt. We have an obligation to “meet this moment”—a moment of dual public health crises: COVID-19 and race equity—and an opportunity to change the landscape, dynamics, culture, and outcomes of our field. In times of crisis, where innovation and collaboration across systems are enhanced, I am reminded why I chose public health as a career and am committed to adapt, listen, andcontinue support for the most vulnerable.
As we continue our work, Health Forward Foundation will center racial equity in our core competencies of leadership, advocacy, and resources. Practicing racial equity means that we will work to create the conditions in which one’s racial identity has absolutely no influence on their ability to thrive. This aspiration requires Health Forward to be the change we wish to see by ensuring racial equity becomes our very ethos.
The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming the defining moment of our time. And so too will the response. Coming through to the other side will take the collective effort of all sectors – including philanthropy – both in the now and in the rebuilding that will follow.
For more than two decades, ClearWay Minnesota has led the fight against Minnesota’s top preventable cause of death and disease: commercial tobacco use. Our scope is among the broadest of any tobacco control organization in the country. The work we led has prevented thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of hospitalizations, and saved billions in worker productivity and health care costs.
We have learned that case management and supportive services, along with assistance navigating access to affordable health care, are vital to improving the ability of those who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, to find and maintain stable housing. With this new focus, we can experiment with funding novel and creative approaches to the safety net of housing and health care services available in our community.