NORCAL Group Foundation: A Quick Look at an Emerging Health Funder

photo: VILevi/shutterstock

photo: VILevi/shutterstock

New foundations are always interesting to watch as they set a direction and engage in their first few rounds of grantmaking. This is especially true with health foundations because this is a rapidly growing part of the philanthropic sector, with new insurance funders and hospital legacy groups popping up every year. One such funder, the NORCAL Group Foundation, was launched last September, and has now completed its second round of local giving.

To recap, this is a health insurance foundation established by NORCAL Mutual Insurance Company largely focused on the needs of California communities. But contrary to its name, it has been giving in both Northern and Southern California, with some funds even making it as far as Anchorage, Alaska. Most recently, the foundation announced six new grants to improve health and wellness in local communities. Thus far, grantmaking has focused on patient care, patient safety, and physician wellness, a funding category that is often overlooked by grantmakers.

Northern California continues to be the hot spot for NORCAL Group Foundation giving, with new grants going to Asian Health Services in Oakland and the St. Anthony Foundation in San Francisco. Other new California grantees include the Northeast Valley Health Corporation in San Fernando and University Faculty Associates in Fresno. But farther from home, an organization in Texas, the Indian Doctor’s Club Charitable Foundation, and a clinic in Florida, the Southwest Florida Free Pain Clinic, also received grants in NORCAL’s recent cycle. It’s important to note that while California has been the center of giving so far, the funder actually accepts unsolicited grant applications from eligible organizations in 39 states and the District of Columbia, too.

“There are so many opportunities to impact healthcare in local communities,” said Joy Corso, president of the NORCAL Group Foundation, in a press release. “The work our grant recipients are doing is a great example of meaningful efforts to improve local healthcare for both patients and physicians, and we are very proud to support these endeavors.”

In the funder’s first giving cycles, it has selected six to seven organizations to support so it doesn’t spread itself too thinly as it figures out what works best to achieve its charitable mission. Also, this is funder focuses pretty exclusively on program support, steering clear of general operating costs, equipment funding, and capital campaigns.

To get involved with this new and growing funder, submit your application for the fall grant cycle between September 1 and October 15 or for the spring grant cycle between March 1 and April 15. Keep your request between $5,000 and $30,000, and don’t be afraid to email this accessible funder with any application-related questions. New foundations often require a trial-and-error period to settle into a stable tradition of giving, so this is a great time to test the waters and get involved with NORCAL.

Related: A New Medical Liability Insurance Foundation Starts Making Grants