Given the complexities of the issues and inequities our communities face, we consider ourselves to be “weavers” that bring together multiple strands of our grantmaking to strengthen the health ecosystem that operates around us. Our grantmaking strategies, when woven together, inform each other and our broad vision to improve the health and well-being of residents in our region.
We envision for organizations and leaders to have what they need to succeed, and residents, especially those underserved and underinsured, can see and feel their experiences reflected in decisions made by organizations in their community.
SUPPORTING AN EQUITABLE & JUST RECOVERY
The COVID pandemic has deeply impacted our region’s communities, some being among the hardest hit in Illinois. We understand that communities will not recover at the same rate nor in the same ways—the long-term health and economic implications of the pandemic depend on what we all do today.
Aligned with the cornerstones of our grantmaking principles and core values, our strategies will shift over the next few years to move from emergency response to a more long-term, bold approach in our service region. Our grantmaking areas will also shift to support communities and partners in nimble and responsive ways that leverage community assets and partnerships towards a more equitable and just post-pandemic future.
After a year of listening to, learning from, and collaborating with grantee partners and peer funders to direct rapid response funding to these communities, we understood that meeting this moment required much more. So, we turned to community to understand those needs and developed a strategic pandemic response for the next three years that has influenced how we do our grantmaking and how we move forward in partnership with community.
Our community partner insights report, “Reimagining Health & Wellness: Building an Equitable COVID-19 Recovery with Community” summarizes the experiences and challenges of nonprofit organizations and communities in our service region and examples of their resiliency during the most extraordinary circumstances of recent history. While the insights and reflections come from a hyper-local lens, many are applicable beyond our service region, including those that speak to philanthropy’s role in this moment and beyond.
During this past year, the pandemic has surfaced deeply rooted inequities across the social determinants of health that continue to disproportionately impact BILPOC (Black, Latinx, People of Color) communities in our region. Our partners have increased their COVID education, vaccine access/outreach efforts and work to address immediate and emerging community needs.
With the support of our Board and community input, we plan to substantially increase our total grantmaking, starting in 2021, to strengthen our local health ecosystem, meet immediate community needs and spur long-term systems change—all which is necessary for an equitable and just recovery for our region.
In 2021, we will fund a projected $8,017,366 in total grants across our grantmaking strategies, a 15% increase from 2020 total funding.
Since 2017, we have awarded $35 million to organizations and initiatives that help fulfill our mission and vision towards advancing health equity in our region.
* Preliminary numbers pending official financial audit