What exactly is SLHI trying to accomplish?
Our mission is to improve the health of individuals and communities in Arizona, with an emphasis on strength-based community development and helping people to help themselves. We do this through the strategies of public education, advocacy, community development and the provision of technical assistance – all of which we undertake through partnerships and the development of communities of practice. We tend to be more opportunity-driven rather than follow a grand strategic plan – we look for those “tipping points” where our resources and connections can leverage constructive change and improved health outcomes, both at the grassroots level of community organizations and services, and at the level of health policy and systems development.
What do you mean by ‘improving health’?
We incorporate a strength-based, normative definition of ‘health’ as “the harmonious integration of mind, body and spirit within a responsive community.” We call this Health in a New Key, and it informs every facet of our work. That’s not to say we don’t address issues in medical care and the health care system itself – we do – but we also look for ways to improve outcomes in that system through attention to social, psychological and environmental factors that promote health and well-being.
How does SLHI fit into the foundation and grantmaking world?
SLHI is a healthcare conversion foundation, formed through the sale of the nonprofit St. Luke’s Health System in 1995 to a for-profit corporation, with the net proceeds intended to endow the organization’s continuing charitable mission of improving the health of people and their communities in Arizona. In the early years, roughly 1995-2000, SLHI pursued this mission primarily through making grants to other not-for-profit community organizations. Gradually, the emphasis shifted to SLHI’s growing reputation for producing high-quality, independent analyses of critical health care and community health issues (Arizona Health Futures), a thriving technical assistance program for community nonprofits (TAP), and proactive, strength-based community development through Health in a New Key activities and communities of practice. Today, we are best described as a quasi-operational foundation: we make grants to other organizations but also operate our own education, advocacy, community development and technical assistance programs. Grants are one of the means, but not the end, of our work.
How do I go about getting a grant, and what are my chances?
SLHI does not make grants to individuals. If you’re working in a qualified, 501(c)(3) organization and, after learning more about our community partnership grants, believe that there’s a good fit between your interests and ours, then the best thing to do is simply give us a call. You can also send us an email and attach a short description of what you’re thinking. Either way, everything starts in conversation. Don’t submit a full proposal right off the bat. We make fewer unsolicited community grants than we used to as more resources are allocated to other community development activities. We see many excellent proposals we would love to support if we had the available funds.
If there is a good fit, do you provide guidance in developing a proposal?
Sure. We’re always willing to provide suggestions and informal feedback in the application process. Even if it turns out that the proposal isn’t a good fit for SLHI, we look for other ways to be helpful, such as providing referrals and introductions in the community. In fact, some of our most successful community partnerships don’t involve a funding relationship at all.
What is TAP?
TAP stands for Technical Assistance Partnership, and began in 1997 as a one-year project to offer technical assistance to community organizations (marketing, fund raising, board development, strategic planning, etc.) through a collaborative model: organizations form a team around a common need/issue and receive targeted technical assistance as a group. Now in its 12th year, TAP demonstrates the truth of the adage, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Please visit TAP for more information.
I can’t pay for necessary medical care. Can I get assistance from SLHI?
We don’t make grants to individuals directly to pay for medical care, but we do have funds restricted to the provision of medical services for people who can’t afford to pay for care themselves. Most of these are restricted to vision, hearing and dental services. We administer these funds through a network of community partners. See our medical assistance program for more details.
I’m interested in health care reform. How can I get involved?
See if there are any health care-related communities of practice you may be interested in joining. If you’re not receiving our publications and notice of conferences and workshops, please let us add you to our mailing lists. Call or email us – maybe there are some organizations in Arizona focused on specific health care reform issues that you would be interested in supporting. Most importantly, in your own contacts with the health care system, be an informed advocate, both for yourself and for those who could use your help in accessing affordable, high-quality and effective care.
How do I get a job at SLHI or a similar organization?
Jobs openings don’t pop up as frequently in foundations as they do in larger, commercial enterprises; but when they do, we rely on a wide network of both formal and informal contacts for good leads. Whether it’s full-time staff or contractual consulting work, we look for persons with superb writing and oral communication skills, research and analytical abilities and experience, and exposure to the health care and community health fields in all their varied dimensions. The best course then is to expand your network with other people in this and similar fields. We try to be helpful in this by connecting talented people to opportunities in the community.