The Greater Washington Community Foundation is pleased to welcome the historic $95 million Health Equity Fund (HEF) to our philanthropic family. The purpose of this transformative fund is to improve the health outcomes and health equity of DC residents. One of the largest funds of any kind focused on community-based nonprofits that serve District residents, the HEF also is the largest in The Community Foundation’s nearly 50-year history.
“The unprecedented $95 million reinvestment in DC neighborhoods and nonprofits is a game changing opportunity,” said Greater Washington Community Foundation President and CEO Tonia Wellons. “As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic further widened and amplified pre-existing health inequities. The Health Equity Fund offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catalyze systemic, lasting change to improve health outcomes and social social determinants of health.”
The funds will be dedicated not only to closing gaps in healthcare but addressing social determinants of health including education, employment, income, housing, transportation, food, environment, medical care, outdoor environment, and community safety issues that have a positive impact on healthcare outcomes.
The HEF was established last year as a result of the resolution of litigation among the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB); Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (GHMSI) – a CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) affiliate – and DC Appleseed Center for Law & Justice. In establishing the HEF, the parties created an innovative and impactful way of addressing DC’s racial health gap.
The Community Foundation will oversee the administration of all aspects of the giving program including providing fund administration, financial management, investment oversight, data management, human resources administration, and compliance oversight, among other responsibilities.
Health Equity Committee
The Community Foundation looks forward to working with the newly created Health Equity Committee, which will oversee the HEF, as stipulated by the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the District of Columbia and GHMSI. The seven-member committee consists of three members appointed by the Mayor (Lori Kaplan, Dr. Tollie Elliott, and Courtney R. Snowden); three appointed by GHMSI (Dr. Djinge Lindsay, MD, MPH; Shirley Marcus Allen; and Jeffrey Franco); and one selected jointly by GHMSI and the Mayor (Nnemdi Kamanu Elias, MD, MPH). For bios of the seven committee members, click here.
The Health Equity Committee, in partnership with The Community Foundation, will develop a grantmaking strategy, approve a slate of proposed grant recipients, monitor the HEF's investments, ensure compliance with HEF's governing policies, and review all financial and program evaluation reports.
Community Foundation’s Strategic Vision
The Community Foundation was independently selected to manage the fund because of our track record of working with individual donors, businesses, and local government to manage effective community investments and create tangible, lasting change in our community. HEF goals align with our strategic vision of advancing racial equity and economic justice, especially in our region’s historically underinvested neighborhoods. Racial equity is central to our ongoing work and 10-year strategic vision to close the racial wealth gap by eliminating the historic, racialized disparities in our community.
In the coming months, the Health Equity Committee in partnership with The Community Foundation will gather community and stakeholder input, identify goals and priorities, develop a grantmaking strategy based on input and an analysis of available data on the nonprofit landscape, and prepare the first competitive RFP. According to the Memorandum of Understanding, all funds are to be disbursed within five years.
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