Letter from the Chair
It has truly been a delight to be part of the Health Fund’s launch and watch its growth over its first five years. With the hard work of a talented staff, a committed board of directors, and a diverse group of partners, we’re in an exceptional position, and I’d like to thank all those who have played a role in these early years.
In 2017 we completed our first full annual grantmaking cycle, awarding more than $26 million across our five major initiatives. We’re now a valuable source of funding for organizations across Michigan, supporting fresh ideas and proven models with the potential to benefit people and communities throughout our state. We’ve established our place in Michigan’s philanthropic landscape, building partnerships and addressing health and wellness needs that we’re uniquely equipped to tackle. And even as we hit our stride, we’re not resting. With our partners, we are constantly looking to adopt ideas and best practices that will increase the impact of our funding.
To that end, lessons learned from early grantmaking are informing our programs as we continue to grow, and these lessons also can inform policy and practice that drive system improvements. In 2017 we began evaluating the first, multiyear grants awarded in 2014, and we’ve found that several resulted in positive outcomes and lasting impacts for Michigan residents.
- A grant we made to the Easter Seals of Michigan to pilot the LUNA (Look,Understand, Nurture, Act) model for addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) was so successful that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) used it to inform trauma assessment in 12 regions statewide. It also played a role in a subsequent grant to the Michigan Association of Health Plans for statewide implementation of the Michigan ACE Initiative.
- We supported the Michigan Recreation & Park Association (mParks) as they launched Come Out and Play! (COAP), which promotes physical activity in parks and on trails. mParks now has a dedicated committee and budget to sustain the program, and they’ve partnered with local parks and recreation departments to integrate COAP throughout Michigan. MDHHS has adopted COAP as the preferred youth activity curriculum for State Innovation Model regions.
- The Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) received a grant to strengthen capacity at Michigan’s 38 community health centers by incorporating Community Health Workers (CHWs). At the grant’s conclusion, 16 community health centers had integrated CHWs, and Michigan was closer to reimbursement for CHW services. Other states are now looking to Michigan for best practices on CHW integration, and MPCA has partnered with the National Association of Community Health Centers to promote their model. In addition, MPCA has secured $7.1 million in federal Medicaid funding to expand the scope of the project.
In short, the Health Fund is supporting meaningful work in Michigan’s communities and helping position the state as a leader in healthful progress. It’s also clear that our impact will continue to grow. As the effects of our earliest grants continue to ripple outward, our more recent grants are also beginning to fulfill their promise.
That’s why I’m excited and proud to share with you the Health Fund’s 2017 portfolio of grants, spotlighted on the following pages. No longer a startup, we’re immensely grateful to both our early partners, current grantees, and future changemakers, and everyone working with us to make Michigan a great place to live and prosper throughout our years.
Tim Damschroder, Board Chair