The COVID pandemic deepened health and wellness inequities experienced by our region’s community members and its prolonged impact has continued to place immense strain on our local nonprofit sector. Despite these challenges, our grantee partners have remained unwavering in promoting health equity in our region and throughout Illinois through critical service delivery, grassroots community organizing, and strategic health policy advocacy. In 2021, we recognized the potential to provide impactful support to our partners and the broader community when we used our power as a grantmaker to advocate at COVID response funding tables for hard-hit communities that philanthropy had historically not invested in.
Guided by our strategic plan, we began a journey to create a policy advocacy framework that seamlessly aligns with our grantmaking priorities. Our goal with this framework is to elevate the leadership, expertise, and solutions of those most affected by health and racial inequities, while reinforcing our support for upstream strategies that strengthen movements and community power to drive change toward health equity in our service region.
In 2023, we sought to expand our understanding of our region’s policy advocacy ecosystem for health equity efforts through in-depth conversations with grantee partners. What we heard was grounded in the expertise and lived experience of leaders and community members of our region, and these insights have built the basis for our policy and advocacy agenda as a foundation.
As a private foundation, there are legal limits we must adhere to when supporting or elevating policy and advocacy initiatives. However, we can leverage our role and voice in the public sphere to promote health equity and justice by amplifying nonpartisan information our partners share about issues that inform our region’s health policy and advocacy efforts.
Guided by our strategic plan and theory of change, our policy agenda highlights critical issues we heard from our partners and details how we envision our role in supporting their advocacy work for health equity in our service region.
Advocate for increased investments in community-based education, information, resource sharing to assist communities that are or can be at risk of being denied continued coverage under Medicaid redetermination.
We plan to:
Advocate for upstream health equity policy shifts that expand and deepen access to mental health services in our service region.
We plan to:
Advocate for and leverage resources to support organizational and community resilience and civic engagement initiatives in our service region.
We plan to: