What’s this Central Texas Health Funder Looking for in New Grantees?

With multi-million dollar, headline-worthy grants and a strict focus on the health needs of Central Texas residents, St. David’s Foundation has been making waves on the local philanthropy scene. Although this funder awards grants by invitation only, it is an approachable grantmaker that encourages nonprofits to initiate contact with its program officers to discuss eligibility and potential opportunities.

Read: St. David’s Foundation: Texas Grants

St. David’s recently announced a new round of grants totaling nearly $27 million to 35 local nonprofits. All of these grants are going toward health-related causes and services in Central Texas, which makes this an excellent local funder to know. Counties in focus are Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson.

“With this precedent-setting amount, St. David’s is investing significant funds in addressing some of the most pressing health care needs in our community,” Earl Maxwell, CEO of St. David’s Foundation, said in a press release.

A majority of the recent grants were awarded to organizations that provide medical care to low-income Texans, but on a nearly equal level as support for mental health organizations that serve children, adults, and families. St. David’s dental program is also worth mentioning because it’s so rare to see foundations prioritize dental funding. St. David’s awarded $2.5 million in grants to groups that provide community dental care in the most recent grant cycle.

When I recently connected with the foundation staff, Communications Manager Shannon Hartigan shared the following piece of advice that they would offer to prospective grantees:

The mission of St. David’s Foundation is to invest in a healthy community, because we believe that good health returns great benefits. It’s important that all of our investments tie into that goal. Our foundation is able to do great work in the community because of our unique partnership, where we reinvest proceeds from St. David’s Healthcare back into Central Texas through signature programs and collaborations with over 60 grant partners, with a goal of building the healthiest community in the world. We tend to be a long-term investor, so we work hard to research each prospective partner and make sure their mission aligns with what we do.  We are looking to invest in strong organizations who have demonstrated impact related to health in our community.  It is our main goal to have a deep impact on the health of Central Texas.

This is a funder that’s proactive about going out into the community, identifying health gaps that aren’t being met, and connecting with groups that can fill those gaps. One characteristic that St. David’s grantees share is that they have “a passion for their mission and tend to have the capacity to deliver effective services and use data to evaluate their work.”

So what else is new at St. David’s these days?

Well, it recently launched Capacity Academy, which is a three-year initiative aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of grantees. The Austin Child Guidance Center and Communities in Schools-Central Texas, among others, have already participated in this invitation-only program that features organizational assessments, technical assistance, and peer networking.  

The foundation staff is active on its blog and social media accounts, which are worth a look as you familiarize yourself with what this funder cares about and supports.

As a final note, Hartigan also added:

We feel privileged to work with so many smart and passionate advocates for healthy change in our community. We consider ourselves to be a learning organization, and we’ve really valued our membership in various grantmaker organizations such as Grantmakers in Health (GIH), Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and Philanthropy Southwest.  We like to take advantage of learning opportunities from other funders, as well as from our grant partners.