Looking Back To Look Forward
As one of the few health-specific funders exclusively supporting the Greater High Point area—including Jamestown, Archdale, and Trinity—the Foundation for a Healthy High Point aims to improve the health of the community by funding a variety of responsive and strategic initiatives.
In 2021, the Foundation invested in an assessment of its previous grantmaking activities, including overall funding amounts and patterns, investments in health conditions, behaviors, populations, and settings, levels of funding impact, and exploration of differences between strategic and responsive grantmaking strategies.
Between 2014 and April 2021, the Foundation awarded 130 grants to 46 nonprofit organizations for a total of nearly $11.6 million in funding. The majority (71%) of the Foundation’s grantmaking responded to needs identified by the community, in contrast to strategic initiatives, which generally have broader impact over a longer timeframe but often require more development and resources. The Foundation’s largest strategic initiative, Healthy Beginnings, awarded 35 grants for a total of $2.7 million in funding.
Careful review of the Foundation’s investments provides insights into the prioritization of specific health conditions, behaviors, and populations. Receiving $4.6 million, or 40% of the Foundation’s total funding, Mental Health and Maternal and Child Health were the top health conditions addressed by the Foundation. Top health behaviors addressed were Child & Adolescent Development and Family Planning, encompassing about 30% of funding, or over $3 million—a reflection of the Foundation’s commitment to infant and maternal health through the Foundation’s Healthy Beginnings initiative.
The top populations served by the Foundation’s grants were adolescents, women, and children, with nearly 30% of grants, or $3 million, directed specifically for interventions addressing these populations.
The largest percentage of our funding (75%) went to grants serving healthcare and related services.
Strategic vs Responsive Grantmaking
Grant activities can impact individuals, organizations, communities, and systems. One grant might provide direct assistance to people, another might help an organization improve its internal structure, another grant might focus on upstream efforts in the community to encourage healthy behaviors, and a grant at the systems level might take a multi-sector approach to change the processes of how social structures work.
Generally, systems-level grants are strategic and have the best potential for broad and sustained impact. Responsive grantmaking tends to address issues at the individual and organizational level, responding to concrete and often urgent needs.
Overall, the Foundation’s responsive grant making focused largely on funding of Healthcare Access and Quality directed toward individuals. In contrast, the Healthy Beginnings strategic initiative had over 50% of its $2.7 million in funding directed toward system-change efforts, with most of this addressing the social and community context.
By analyzing the patterns and priorities of our investments, the Foundation is able to see how, when, and where grantmaking activities have impact. We continue to explore the different benefits and challenges of strategic versus responsive grantmaking decisions as we strive to help improve the long-term health of our community.