That’s a record. Last week, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced its approval of $38.3 million in new grants—its biggest give ever. The Foundation, which recently topped $1 billion in charitable gifts over the course of its almost seventy-year history, has been making news lately, reorganizing its giving priorities, and making big grants. “Increasingly, we are being more strategic in our areas of interest,” says Ed Cain, Vice President of Grant Programs. “We’re trying to make the biggest difference possible with the resources at our disposal, and making sure that these projects deliver tangible results.”
Making the most difference with the money: that’s a common tune across all areas of philanthropy, but it’s especially prevalent in health-related giving. Hilton’s latest give is, unsurprisingly, spread across a range of different interest areas, covering both global and domestic initiatives. Let’s take a look at what this give covers.
Always a big supporter of Catholic missions, Hilton has contributed nearly a third ($10.4 million) of its latest grants to a variety of Catholic projects around the world. For example, Catholic Relief Services will receive $3.5 million for its work with Catholic sisters in Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia. Domestically, the National Religious Retirement Office will receive $2.5 million to help congregations assist in the overall care of their retired sisters, and the National Religious Vocation Conference is receiving $2.55 million in order to create a “Fund for the Future of Religious Life,” which will help young people interested in entering the faith.
A further $5.8 million from Hilton is earmarked to fund HIV and AIDS treatment, especially in the developing world. Hilton is giving $1.5 million to the Aga Khan Foundation's work in early childhood development capacity for children affected by HIV and AIDS in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. Among other initiatives receiving funding, the Episcopal Relief and Development is receiving $1 million to fortify their early childhood development program, which includes childhood AIDS prevention and care initiatives in Zambia.
Foster care projects have long been a sweet spot for Hilton, and that interest is reflected this time in the nearly $3 million to support foster kids transitioning out of the system—at age 18, as per law—in New York City and Los Angeles county. Along those same lines, Hilton is lobbing $1.5 million at Mental Health America of Los Angeles, with the goal of improving housing options for the city’s estimated 254,000 homeless.
Substance abuse was the last major area of giving. All told, $7.75 million of Hilton’s money will go toward a range of substance abuse prevention programs, including Community Catalyst, a nationwide consumer health advocacy network; the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, to improve adolescents’ access to care; and the Treatment Research Institute, to enhance and expand the implementation of health screenings and referrals in four NYC-area metro schools.