Mat-Su Health Foundation

OVERVIEW: This Alaska funder is mainly concerned with health needs of the elderly, children, and behavioral health. Grants must benefit the people of Mat-Su. Unsolicited applications are accepted online.

FUNDING AREAS: Elderly, mental health, child and family health

IP TAKE: MSHF provides pretty much every type of support a health grantseeker could hope for. Any organization with a health angle in this region should know the ongoing opportunities here.

PROFILE: The Mat-Su Health Foundation's roots date back to 1948 when Valley Hospital Association (VHA) incorporated to build and operate Valley Hospital in Palmer. The foundation is based in Wasilla, Alaska, and first awarded grants in 2006 after the VHA board of directors began appropriating some of the revenues earned through hospital ownership back into the community.

The Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) has lately awarded around $7 million per year in grants and scholarships to improve the health of Mat-Su residents. Health is at the center of grantmaking, and all grants have a local focus. The Matanuska-Susitna Valley, locally known as Mat-Su, is in Southcentral Alaska, south of the Alaska Range and about 35 miles north of Anchorage. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Area.

The three focus areas are Healthy Aging, Healthy Minds, and Healthy Foundations for Families. Grants for senior citizens support health and independence efforts. The rate of population growth among the local 65+ demographic is nearly four times the national rate. Behavioral health grants encourage access to mental health services. Family-oriented grants focus on the safety and well-being of children.

Funding priority is given to groups in local and state coalitions, that are expanding access to healthcare, and that value diversity. The foundation supports capacity building, capital, brick-and-mortar, program evaluation, planning and seed money, program costs, technical assistance, start-up costs, short-term operating funding, policy change and health fair support.  

Healthy impact grants are over $15,000, while target wellness grants are up to $15,000. The healthy schools program, which was launched by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, provides grants of $2,500 to $5,000 to local schools to support the prevention of childhood obesity. The foundation makes discovery grants in amounts over $15,000 to address findings and recommendations found in specific Mat-Su Health Foundation-sponsored research.

To learn about grantees and funding levels, search the grants database, which is updated periodically and dates back to 2009.

The foundation accepts requests for target wellness grants all year, and considers requests for healthy impact grants biannually through a two-step application process. It offers Healthy Schools grants annually. MSHF also funds groups outside its traditional grant programs through a request for proposal process. Current RFPs are posted here.

General questions can be directed to 907-352-3862 or via email to individual staff members, whose email addresses are listed on the Contact Us page. You can keep up with this funder's activities and interests on its News and Happenings page.

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