LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 14, 2016) The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky invested more than $3.1 million in 2015 to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians through work on responsive health policy, funding research, grantmaking and gatherings of health policy leaders and advocates, according to the Foundation’s annual report released today. Since it was founded in 2001, the Foundation has awarded nearly $25.5 million in grants.
“The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has become known as an innovator in several aspects of health philanthropy,” said Susan Zepeda, president and CEO. “We are recognized for building the capacity of Foundation grantees to create meaningful health policy changes through a mix of approaches. These include combining multi-year funding with training and technical assistance, funding and sharing research, and gatherings of diverse stakeholders to learn from one another and collaborate.”
The Foundation focused primarily on two initiatives, titled Promoting Responsive Health Policy and Investing in Kentucky’s Future, while also hosting its biennial Data! Forum, its annual health policy gathering, the Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, which focused on building healthy places in 2015, and regular “Health for a Change” training workshops and webinars.
Promoting Responsive Health Policy Initiative
The Foundation funded work of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, Kentucky Voices for Health, Kentucky Youth Advocates, Kentucky Population Health Institute and Kentucky Equal Justice Center. These organizations worked on a variety of issues, including advocating for a seamless health insurance coverage process for foster youth, increasing the number of Kentuckians protected by smoke-free ordinances, and outreach and support to local health departments in order for Kentucky to remain a national leader in accreditation.
Investing in Kentucky’s Future Initiative
Seven health coalitions across the Commonwealth are using grants from the Foundation, matched with local funding, to reduce the risk that today’s school-aged children will develop chronic diseases as they grow into adults. Six of the coalitions – Partnership for a Healthy McLean County, Purchase Area Connections for Health, Fitness for Life Around Grant County, Breathitt County Health Planning Council for Children, Perry County Wellness Coalition, and Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition – are focused on reducing childhood obesity through changes to the communities’ built environment, policies and systems. The seventh, Bounce Coalition in Jefferson County, is addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) through training for teachers and out-of-school time care providers.
Research to Inform Health Policy
In addition, the Foundation funded research to inform health policy, including the final stages of a study that pointed out both potential improvements as well as ongoing areas of concern under Medicaid Managed Care in Kentucky, and a second ongoing study regarding the impacts of the Affordable Care Act on access to and costs of care in Kentucky. The Foundation also jointly funded its annual Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) with Cincinnati-based Interact for Health; the 2015 KHIP study found, among other things, that fewer Kentucky adults were delaying or skipping medical care due to costs, and that a majority of Kentuckians favor tobacco-free schools and public places.
Meeting and Workspace
More than 40 organizations took advantage of the free conference and meeting space the Foundation provides to not-for-profits, who brought together more than 3,100 persons for training or strategy sessions and other gatherings. (c)space, the Foundation’s coworking offices and open desks for those looking to share workspace with others who are passionate about improving the health and quality of life in Kentucky, served 10 members, including Kentucky Voices for Health, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, and Welcoming America.
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested over $26 million in health policy research, advocacy and pilot project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by informing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter and on Facebook, or visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth