What We Believe

We commit the majority of our funding to unrestricted general operating support. We firmly believe that strengthening our partner organizations from within allows them to be more agile, adaptive, creative, and values-focused to deliver health and social services that address health equity.


We move beyond traditional programmatic restrictions in our grantmaking and place trust in organizations to use resources towards health equity in ways that meet the needs of their staff, programs, and the communities they serve.


As part of our strategic plan and aligned to our COVID-19 grantmaking response strategy, we will continue to make annual general operating support grants and will introduce multi-year general operating support partnerships this year. While it was part of our strategic plan, we recognize the value that multi-year partnerships bring in this moment to help us learn alongside community on how to reimagine health and well-being for organizations and communities in our region.


Our general operating support grantmaking allows us to invest deeply in critical community-based pandemic response efforts; connect with new partners whose efforts align with our grantmaking strategies; and amplify a bold response and recovery for our region.


These are one-year grants awarded annually and based on an open competitive grant cycle. Our annual general operating support allows us to be nimble, flexible and responsive to our region’s needs. Through this funding, we have a continued connection and understanding of community needs and initiatives. For this year’s grant cycle, we will review grant proposals through the lens of achieving an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening the health equity ecosystem of our region.


Note: Our 2021 Grant Cycle is now closed.


We acknowledge that recovery requires us to go beyond the pre-pandemic status quo and look towards long-term, strategic investments in our service region. Using hyper-local data, having deep conversations with our partners and developing our evaluation framework has informed the evolution of our general operating support funding.


We are implementing a new type of general operating support in 2021 and will form a grantee partner cohort to begin a three-year partnership. Through this partnership, multi-year grantee partners will receive a renewable grant for the next three years to support their leadership efforts towards advancing health equity in our region. This type of long-term partnership is a strategic learning process for us and one that we envision co-creating with our partners’ expertise, input and organizational capacity. Partners who participate in the multi-year grantee partner cohort will not be eligible for the open annual grant cycle. 


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2021 Grant Cycle

For a full list of FAQs regarding our 2021 Grant Cycle, please click here.


Q:  How are you defining new applicants, returning applicants, and multi-year partners?

      • New Applicants: Organizations that have not applied for general operating support from the Healthy Communities Foundation or organizations that may have previously applied but have not received funding since 2019.   
      • Returning Applicants: Organizations that received a general operating support grant in 2020.
      • Multi-Year Partners: Organizations that receive a three-year grant for 2021-2024.  
Multi-Year General Operating Support Grants

Q: How were organizations selected for multi-year grants this year?

We have been intentional about how we use data that our grantee partners provide to inform our funding strategies and assess impact in our grantmaking. While we are a relatively new foundation, our grantmaking processes have evolved in alignment with our strategic plan. Last year, we shifted our general operating support funding to only support our current grantee partners to meet the needs of our region during the pandemic. Since last year, we have also been developing a learning-based equitable evaluation framework.  


Using hyper-local data, having deep conversations with all grantee partners and developing our evaluation framework has informed the evolution of our general operating support funding. These elements have helped us shape the criteria we used to select our 2021-2024 multi-year partners.  


Each partner meets the criteria below, although the way they meet it may look differently depending on its organizational focus, communities served or other aspects: 

      • Employs an organization-wide intersectional approach to health equity and racial justice work and practices beyond their programs and services.    
      • Intentionally engages our region’s residents and communities in conversations, solutions and/or decision-making to inform their strategy and work. 
      • Centers BILPOC leadership in their staff and board of directors.   
      • Engages in organizational learning to inform upstream, systems-focused approaches to health equity.  
      • Convenes with others through an intersectional lens and brings collaborative expertise and capacity.  
      • Demonstrated local leadership in implementing a robust COVID-19 response that utilizes, provides, and/or advocates for: 
        • Community health workers/promotoras de salud 
        • Community-based mental health services, and/or 
        • Direct cash assistance to our region’s residents through a racial/ethnic equity lens  


Q: What are the most significant differences between an annual grant versus a multi-year grant from Healthy Communities Foundation?

Time commitment, on grantee partners and the foundation, is the main difference between annual and multi-year funding.  


For Annual Grantee Partners: We have continued to streamline the application process and reporting requirements to reduce the time spent on the application, site visit and due diligence process. But, as part of our new equitable evaluation framework, there is much we can learn from the critical work of annual grantee partners and look forward to engaging with them in a learning process that is rapid and informs our broader strategies.

For Multi-Year Partners: While multi-year partners receive a three-year funding commitment from us, there is also a commitment from organizations to a more in-depth reporting process and participation in learning practices with the foundation that may include qualitative research and communications collaboration.


Q: Can I see the list of multi-year partners?  

As a foundation, we believe that our accountability begins with transparency, consent and co-creation. We are currently working to co-create grant agreements and learning practices with multi-year grantee partners and once we finalize this, we will make the list available on our website.


Q:When do you begin your next multi-year funding cohort? 

As part of our equitable evaluation framework, multi-year grantee partners are a part of our learning and impact strategy. The decision to extend multi-year grants (or expand the number and type of multi-year grantee partners) will be based on key learnings and data we derive from our evaluation framework. In addition, we will include up-to-date assessments of our region’s health needs in that decision-making as our region may be in a different phase of the pandemic recovery.


Q: Why did the Healthy Communities Foundation not have an open call or RFP process for multi-year partnerships? 

We recognize that organizations have faced many internal and external changes this year, including a need to navigate new funding shifts. We heard from our partners that it was difficult to manage multiple grant applications at this  time. We did not want to add another barrier for organizations that are already operating at maximum capacity. We turned to our learnings from 2020, our conversations with community and grantee partners earlier this year, and our strategic plan to develop our approach to multi-year partnerships.

Other Funding Opportunities

Q: If I am an annual partner (or multi-year partner), does this mean I am precluded from responsive or strategic funding opportunities?

Our general operating grants work in tandem to other funding opportunities. In the next three years, we will look closely at the equitable COVID-19 recovery efforts of annual grantee partners to determine future investment in potential responsive opportunities or strategic initiatives.

2020 grant Cycle

At the onset of the pandemic, it was important for us to shape our response towards recovery and resilience that worked for all and that reflected our values and mission.


For our 2020 grant cycle, we awarded the majority of our annual funding towards general operating support and made two important decisions: 

      1. We focused on grantee partners that received general operating support from us in 2019.
      2. We streamlined the grant cycle to get resources out the door quickly. 


The pandemic’s devastating impact on our region reinforced our understanding of the role we play in providing stability and certainty as our partners navigated many unknowns.


Grant Allocation

By Funding Principle

  • Access

  • Address

  • Advocate

  • Augment


  • Legacy and Equity

  • HCF General

  • HCF Regional

2020 Grant Recipients

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Learn About our OTHER grantmaking areas