For a multi-million grant that’s the largest in a foundation's 40 years of grantmaking, we’re willing to step just outside the Philadelphia city limits to see what all the fuss is about. The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust recently announced an $8.9 million grant to Lehigh Valley Health Network's Division of Education. For anyone who’s new to the area, the Lehigh Valley area is the geographical target of the foundation and the trust, just north of Philly around Allentown.
This massive grant will be spread across four years to fund patient care and patient/provider engagement. The local health network plans to use some of this money to educate staff and patients through virtual reality games and simulations.
Leonard Parker Pool (the successful Air Products businessman) and his wife Dorothy Rider Pool established the Rider-Pool Foundation in 1957. Education, human services, art & culture, and community development are the foundation’s four focus areas.
Leonard later established the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust in 1975 to specifically support the Lehigh Valley Health Network. The trust’s focus areas of support include community engagement, primary care, community-based workforce development, and care system redesign. This is the largest grant commitment the trust has ever made.
However, it’s important to note that this is a multi-faceted grant that encompasses workforce development, patient engagement, value-added care, and data-driven performance. The trust wants the health network (which includes four hospitals, 12 health centers in five counties, and numerous regional physician practices) to use the money to build a better workforce, engage patients, adopt electronic medical records, and use data to maximize effectiveness. So in this regard, the $8.9 million is more than just another big health grant—it’s a grant to promote regional jobs and keep track of data too.
"The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust is proud and eager to support Lehigh Valley Health Network's ongoing efforts to achieve the Triple Aim of better care, better cost and better health," said Edward F. Meehan, executive director of the trust.
It’s important to wrap your head around the programmatic differences between the more general Rider Pool foundation and the separate health-focused trust here. Right now, trust programming is fixated on nursing and health management and evaluation infrastructure. Check out the trust’s Application page to learn about begin the application process. Just keep in mind that these health grants often take care of the behind-the-scenes health work that the average patient never thinks about.