Grantmaking Approach

  • The Foundation views health through a social determinants framework, drawing upon the World Health Organization’s broad definition: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
  • The Foundation relies on local communities to identify health issues that should be addressed, rather than naming specific focus areas and calling for proposals to address those issues.
  • In general, the Foundation seeks to add value by complementing funding streams, rather than duplicating funding traditionally provided by public sources, and by encouraging collaborative projects that combine evidence-based interventions and prevention strategies to address a health issue.
  • Throughout all of its grantmaking, emphasis is placed on evaluation to facilitate sustainability of projects through advocacy and lobbying activities.

Learn more about The Health Foundation’s approach to grantmaking:

Results-Oriented Grantmaking and Grant-Implementation (ROGG)

Eligibility Criteria

The Health Foundation accepts applications from non-profit organizations with a tax-exempt 501(c)3 designation as determined by the Internal Revenue Service, and/or those operating under a fiscal sponsor with verified tax-exempt status, or government entities (e.g. municipalities, school districts, etc.).

The project must also fall within our geographic service area, which consists of the 60 cities and towns comprising Worcester County and some surrounding towns. You can find a map here.

In general, The Health Foundation will not support:

  • Projects outside of Central Massachusetts;
  • Endowments;
  • Capital campaigns;
  • Fund drives or sponsorship of events;
  • Scholarships; or
  • Retirement of operating deficits.

In addition, by law, The Health Foundation is not permitted to provide direct support to individuals for projects, scholarships, or health care, nor may it fund electoral activities or candidates for public office.

Guidelines & Application Information

Grants are made primarily through two funding avenues: the Activation Fund, and the Synergy Initiative. Please click on each one for more information on the application process and previous grants.

  • The Activation Fund (Currently Closed)
    The Activation Fund supports discrete one-year projects in Central Massachusetts that align with The Health Foundation’s mission and complement it’s Synergy Initiative grant projects, while generating action beyond the routine.  Requests are typically considered on an annual basis.
  • The Synergy Initiative (Currently Closed)
    The Synergy Initiative provides multi-year funding for collaborative efforts that target community-identified health issues in Central Massachusetts with integrated, comprehensive strategies designed to improve health, concluding with systems or policy changes to sustain the project. Requests for proposals are issued every four to five years.

In addition, the Foundation makes Board Designated grants on occasion to support special opportunities that do not fit the Synergy Initiative or Activation Fund guidelines but complement The Health Foundation’s grant portfolio and mission. Organizations cannot apply for Board Designated grants.