Our 2019 annual report reviews some of the Health Fund’s biggest undertakings in our sixth year. Read the introductory letter from our chairperson, Tim Damschroder, below, and click here to view and download the full report [PDF]!
Letter from the Chair
As I write this letter, 2019 sure seems like the distant past. Like many of our peers and partners, COVID-19 has us reinventing plans and questioning assumptions that seemed rock solid just six months ago. When we sat down to reflect on 2019 for the purposes of this report, we had to ask ourselves just how relevant last year’s work is to this year’s realities.
Fortunately for us, our grant partners have provided incredible insights over the past few years— insights that ring true in “normal” times and, in the face of a pandemic and a national reckoning with racism, are flashing bright red. Namely: to build a healthier Michigan for everyone, and to tackle health disparities, nonprofits need more than grant dollars.
In 2018, we surveyed grantee organizations to learn how we were doing as a funder. (You can read the highlights in last year’s annual report.) One of the key takeaways was that the Health Fund can do more to help our partners than simply fund programs. Many organizations expressed a desire for networking support, training, and capacity building. In 2019, we took concrete steps toward a more holistic partnership approach. Read about our efforts on page 4.From where we sit in 2020, we’re glad we started down this path last year. The resources we started developing in 2019 have proven critical to nonprofits forced to rethink their operations, programs, and fundraising as a result of COVID-19. Of course, we only knew to start this process thanks to grantee feedback. We’re so grateful for our partners’ willingness to share and the countless ways they help us grow. They remind us that the smartest thing we can do as a funder is listen and learn.
All that said: we awarded more than $33 million in grants last year! Those funds are supporting important work all across Michigan, even as that work adapts to changing circumstances. Yes, these grants were made in the “before” time. Yet nonprofits push relentlessly forward in the midst of this pandemic, serving residents in new ways and deepening their commitments to health equity. Here at the Health Fund, we’re reminded once again how much we can learn from our partners’ knowledge, creativity, and verve—and we stand ready to listen.
With healthy wishes for you and your loved ones,