Catalytic Philanthropy Helps Build Healthier Communities

Publication date: 
October, 2016
Source(s): 
Ripple Foundation

What are the roles and responsibilities of philanthropy in building healthy communities?

A new report from the Build Healthy Places Network (BHPN) takes a look at this question by profiling 38 efforts around the country to advance healthier communities.

The report, Summarizing the Landscape of Healthy Communities: A Review of Demonstration Programs Working Towards Health Equityasks and answers three key questions, one specifically focused on the responsibilities of philanthropy:

  • What actions are communities across the U.S. undertaking to promote healthy communities?
  • At the community level, what types of organizations are working to improve the health of their community?
  • In what ways are foundations investing in this area?

The report explains how efforts to build healthier communities often involve “addressing complicated and multifaceted problems, and significant positive change in health outcomes may take decades to take shape.”

It goes on to say that “foundations are well positioned . . . to make significant and lasting impact on communities by implementing new grant-making strategies, coordinating and nurturing deep partnerships across sectors, developing new measurement and evaluation strategies, and guiding sustainability of healthy communities work for generations to come.”

Transforming health and health care is the focus of the Rippel Foundation and its signature initiative, ReThink Health, both of which are spotlighted in the new report. The Rippel Foundation, through catalytic philanthropy, eschews short-term grants in favor of a long-term commitment to sustainable systems change.

Rippel and ReThink Health recognize that profound change does not come in short-term funding cycles, but through a pledge to take risks and invest in promising, bold ideas. In this way, we are seeding innovations in health and leading the way toward systems transformation. We are helping to redefine the role of philanthropy in social change.

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