Kresge and the California HealthCare Foundation Partnering for Impact

It’s so nice to see foundations working together. This doesn't happen enough among the big foundations, and rarely happens at all among big individual donors. So when we see two big foundations joining together for a common good, it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. It can also provide valuable insights into a foundation’s operating strategy, and provide inklings about what its future holds. Often, it's safer for a foundation to slide into a small-scale collaboration with another foundation, dip in a toe, and decide whether or not to launch its own grantmaking initiative.

That’s what Kresge seems to be doing with this latest partnership with the California HealthCare Foundation. Though it doesn’t have its own Health Policy and Access Grantmaking program, in the past few years many grants handed out under Kresge’s general Health program have tended towards the access side. For example, there was a $5 million grant for the Low Income Investment Fund to provide a loan guarantee for the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Demonstration Fund, a reimbursement program designed to provide health care for Medically Underserved Areas and Populations and serve the healthcare needs of public housing communities. Then, there was $600,000 awarded to the Georgia State University Research Foundation to support its work in improving the quality of community-based health-care delivery systems, and another $600K to the Children's Health Fund in support of its Child Health Transportation Initiative. Recently, it designated a “Community Health Partnerships” focus area under Health, which is all about community-driven, access-related projects.

Now it’s reaching even farther into the warm waters of health access, partnering up with the California HealthCare Foundation to invest in companies that serve community health centers. CHCF is no stranger to this game—it’s invested over $10 million of support into companies that help low-income Californians and the providers who serve them. But for Kresge this is a significant expansion for both their community health grantmaking and social investing.