First Hospital Foundation: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW: The First Hospital Foundation funds a variety of health and wellness causes in and around the city of Philadelphia. Nearly any health-based proposal in the metropolitan area can be considered for a grant, although the awards usually are for $20,000 to $30,000 only. The entire application process can be completed online and is very straightforward.

IP TAKE: This is a great foundation for health nonprofits in the Philadelphia metro area to consider, regardless of their focus area, size, or budget. Keep in mind that First Hospital grants aren't huge, but they are accessible. Make sure that your grant proposal benefits vulnerable Philadelphia populations, and you're golden.

PROFILE: The First Hospital Foundation is one of those foundations that found their place in the world of philanthropy after a hospital merger. Pennsylvania Hospital merged with the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and established a fund to improve the well-being of the most vulnerable populations in the five-county metropolitan area.

Since that time, the foundation has provided well over $15 million in local health grants. In a recent year, FHF had over $44 million in assets and over $1.2 million in total giving. In 2016, the foundation engaged in a strategic planning process and suspended grantmaking.

First Hospital doesn't consider grant applications from outside the counties surrounding Philadelphia, and it focuses solely on health issues. More specifically, the foundation gravitates toward organizations that improve access to health care and behavioral health services, improve care for uninsured individuals, promote the health of children, and educate residents about their health options. First Hospital regularly provides both general operating support and specific program support for grantees.

In general, the foundation has had an annual grant cycle and has accepted applications only once a year. It does not support one-time training or advocacy programs, capital campaigns, endowments, scholarships, individual grants, political causes, or debt reduction requests. However, pretty much any other health-based proposal in the Philadelphia metro area is fair game for a grant. Most grants range from around $500 to $100,000, and First Health awards about 50 of those each year.

Health-care access proposals should either strengthen existing programs or address public health issues such as domestic violence and infectious diseases. Mental health proposals should be integrated with primary care and allow for substance abuse prevention and treatment. First Hospital likes to see grant proposals that serve the city's most vulnerable populations, including abuse victims, rape victims, unborn babies, and the elderly. Childhood obesity and access to proper nutrition are always hot funding areas. This is one of the few foundations in the city that fund dental health programs. Education and training proposals should not focus only on training a better workforce, but also on abuse treatment and public policy advocacy.

The new grantmaking strategy starting in 2017 can be viewed on the funder's Grantmaking page. To learn more about past FHF grantmaking, check out the foundation's Grantees page.

This is a very accessible foundation for grantseekers, and the application process can be completed entirely online. First Hospital is run by a very small staff consisting of one executive director and one program officer. But unlike foundations that have a wide variety of program focus areas, they can keep the grantmaking process efficient and streamlined. You can keep up with recent news at the foundation on its News and Events website page. Contact the foundation directly at 215-546-4290 or info@firsthospitalfdn.org with general inquiries.

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