Health foundations are increasingly recognizing that their mission is not simply to award grants to deserving nonprofit organizations, but rather to play a catalytic role in improving the conditions that influence health, especially at a population level.
Update from the Field: Results of Grantmakers In Health’s 2015 Survey of Foundations Formed from Health Care Conversions
GIH’s Update from the Field provides a fresh, comprehensive profile of foundations formed from transactions involving nonprofit hospitals, health systems, health plans, and other health entities. Health conversion foundations have become a significant force in the philanthropic sector.
What’s exhilarating about being a new and nimble funder is that we are not entrenched in outdated philanthropic ways.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.
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.
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.
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.
Like many funding organizations, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., has been on a journey to incorporate strategic evaluation into its grantmaking, and in 2019, completed an ambitious suite of impact evaluations. The evaluation had multiple aims, including: determining the portfolio’s impact; examining the impact of each intervention via program-level studies; and supporting grantees’ use of and capacity to engage in these and future evaluations.
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.
COVID-19 has struck with a vengeance, hitting African Americans, older adults, and those with chronic health conditions the hardest. Simultaneously, our nation is experiencing a moment of reckoning, resulting from a long history of racism that has shaped the foundation of this country and thus permeates every system and institution.