Here’s a Chicago Funder That's Into Paying Nurses’ Salaries

With annual giving at around $2 million per year, the Chicago-based VNA Foundation champions small, local health organizations that serve the underserved. Grants are awarded four times per year, and this spring, the foundation announced 19 new grants totaling $738,500.

Here’s where VNA’s strongest support is going right now. These are things to keep in mind as the next letter of intent deadline approaches on June 18.

Paying Nurse Salaries

Medical clinics in and around the city are getting some new staff members, thanks to recent grants from the VNA Foundation. This funder likes to provide actual, tangible staff support, which is incredibly rare and valuable in the health funding arena today.

In the most recent grant cycle, VNA gave $70,000 to the PCC Community Wellness Center to support a clinical care manager to collaborate with providers and outside agencies for high-risk patients. Another $70,000 grant went to the Loyola University Chicago’s Nurse Managed School Based Health Center to pay the salary of a nurse practitioner at Proviso East High School in Maywood. Hands down, VNA’s largest grants have been going towards salary support lately.

Free and Charitable Clinics

One of VNA’s largest recent grants went to the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics - $75,000. This money supports three initiatives that coordinate and optimize the efforts of clinics that provide healthcare access to low-income, uninsured and under-insured residents.

VNA also gave $50,000 to a local free clinic, the Will-Grundy Medical Clinic, to support the efforts of a registered nurse there. Free clinics are a big part of VNA grantmaking and will likely always will be.

Closing Health Gaps

According to the foundation, babies born just seven public transit stops apart in Chicago can face a 16-year difference in life expectancy. Chicago’s a big place, but that’s a huge discrepancy within just a few miles. The life expectancy for someone living in the loop is 85, while it’s just 69 in Washington Park.

The foundation has connected with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the VCU Center on Society and Health to actually map out where the geographical challenges lie. If these maps are any indication, we’ll likely be seeing future VNA grants flow to the Washington Park and East Garfield Park neighborhoods.

Grantmaking is restricted to the Chicago area counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will. And grants also fund the medically underserved in home health care services, community and school-based services, primary care and chronic disease management, and health promotion. To learn more about VNA grantmaking, read IP’s profile, VNA Foundation: Chicago Grants