Hearst Has a Thing For Nurses

The goal of the Hearst Foundations, inspired by newspaper-mogul founder William Randolph Hearst, is to “ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives.”

First, to clear up why they are the Hearst Foundations, plural: Technically speaking, William Randolph Hearst established an east coast foundation in 1945 and a west coast foundation in 1948. Their missions were (and remain) the same, as are the granting stipulations. Whether your organization resides east or west of the Mississippi River is the only difference.

Regardless of what side of the Mississippi you're on, these foundations are staunchly committed to supporting health. The word "healthy" is right there in their mission, and in fact Health is the official name of one of four areas of foundation giving. So it's not a huge surprise that the nursing profession is supported by these funders. But the significant emphasis nursing receives goes well beyond "no surprise" into the realm of "truly notable." This funding occurs through that Health giving category, as well as the foundations' commitments to Education and Social Service—three of their four focus areas (the fourth being Culture).

In the Health realm, support of nursing relates to professional development, healthcare access to low-income populations, efficient healtcare delivery systems, the elderly, and disease research (particularly cancer). 

In the Education sector, support of nursing syncs with post-secondary education (both programs and student scholarship programs).

All said and done, the Hearst Foundations give approximately 30 percent to Health and another 30 percent to Education, distributed to organizations throughout the United States. You must have an annual operating budget of at least $1 million to be eligible. The foundations further state that 80% of grantees in these two categories have budgets over $10 million. (With the many hospitals and university centers that receive funding through these streams, this statistic is no surprise.)

As you might expect, given the operating budgets of eligible organizations, the Hearst Foundations look large in terms of scope. They want to fund organizations that serve “large demographic and/or geographic constituencies.” As a comment on their overall giving (not just related to Health) they alsostate as their priority organizations that “enable engagement by young people and create a lasting impression.” Engagement of "young people" here relates not only to serving children, but also the foundations' desire tofund professional development.

The Hearst Foundations want the health access programs they support to differentiate themselves from their peers—not just in an approach to programming, but also in terms of results. They also place importance on results by expecting “evidence of sustainability” for programs beyond their own support of them. They regularly give both program and—more notably—capital support (and a limited amount of general and endowment support) to 501(c)3 groups.

Recent nursing-related grantees receiving funding through the foundations' Health giving area include:

  • $150,000 to the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN) "to support the Comprehensive Collegiate Center for Clinical Competence at the School of Nursing"
  • $150,000 to Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ) "to purchase high-fidelity simulation models and to provide simulation training for faculty members in the College of Nursing"
  • $150,000 to the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) "toward the construction of an Operating Room Suite in the new Simulation Hospital in the School of Nursing and Health Studies"
  • $125,000 to Dominican University (River Forest, IL) "to purchase advanced equipment for the Clinical Simulation Laboratory for nursing students"
  • $100,000 to the American Red Cross National Headquarters (Washington, DC) "To support the Nurse Assistant Training program."

Recent Education grantees in the nursing realm include:

Remarkably for a funder playing on such a large field, the Hearst Foundations has an open online application process. They do, however, alert potential new applicants that 80 percent of their funding goes to previous recipients. On the flipside of this daunting statistic, if you do make the cut for initial funding through the Hearst Foundations, the odds are in your favor that you’ll continue receiving it. But you’ll have to wait at least three years until that happens; the foundations stipulate that as the “waiting period” between grants.

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