The mission of The Health Foundation is to use our resources to improve the health of those who live or work in the Central Massachusetts region, with particular emphasis on vulnerable populations and unmet needs.
As guiding principles, The Health Foundation shall:
- Be cognizant of, and responsive to, the changing health needs of the region;
- Combine its charitable mission with a commitment to innovation;
- Hold prevention, education, provision of health services and research as tenets, with a recognition that these concepts are the cornerstone of improving health;
- Function primarily by awarding grants, though it may also from time to time initiate its own programs;
- Endeavor to leverage its resources as a catalyst for positive change; and
- Use the term “health” in its broadest sense, drawing upon the World Health Organization’s definition:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization
In applying the broad definition of health, The Health Foundation understands the social determinants of health to be: medical care, socioeconomic status, environment, genetics, lifestyles and behaviors. Thus, The Health Foundation expects strategies aimed at improving health to include: integrated healthcare delivery systems, schools, social services, employers and public health.
These are the key factors that influence The Health Foundation’s grantmaking avenues (i.e., the Health Care and Health Promotion Synergy Initiative and the Activation Fund). In crafting its grant funding avenues, The Health Foundation seeks to:
- Add value by complementing funding streams, rather than duplicating funding traditionally provided by others (e.g., local state or federal government programs), and encouraging co-funding partners when appropriate;
- Rely on community leadership to identify health issues that should be addressed, as informed by health status indicators and emerging health issues, rather than the Foundation naming health issues and calling for proposals to address those issues;
- Encourage partnerships and collaborative projects which combine evidence-based interventions to improve access to medical treatment and prevention (e.g., population health, public health) strategies to address a health issue;
- Focus funding on a few projects with multi-year support designed to result in systems change in order to sustain evidence-based interventions;
- Emphasize and support evaluation to facilitate grantee results and sustainability of evidence-based interventions; and
- Change public policy in order to institutionalize evidence-based interventions by supporting advocacy and lobbying activities.