The VNA Foundation: Grants for Public Health

OVERVIEW: The VNA Foundation supports a wide range of community health access initiatives, with grants going almost exclusively to projects in the Chicago area. 

IP TAKE: This foundation is generous and accessible. Chicago-based groups with a health access angle should get to know this funder. 

PROFILE: Originally convened as the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) in 1890 in Chicago, these days the VNA Foundation offers grants to organizations that provide direct care.

The VNA centers its grantmaking on supporting organizations that provide or offer home and community based care to what it refers to as “medically underserved” populations in the Chicago metro area. It focuses on home health care services, community healthcare services, primary care and chronic disease management, and health promotion. The foundation’s specific interests are relatively broad, covering everything from dental health to cancer programs.

This is one of the more accessible funders out there. VNA Foundation executive director Robert N. DiLeonardi encourages prospective grantees to get in touch if they believe their work closely aligns with the foundation’s mission, telling IP editors, “If after reviewing the website you believe there’s a fit between our grantmaking and your funding need, give us a call.” DiLeonardi added, “We stay true to our mission and closely follow our guidelines, but are always happy to discuss your ideas and brainstorm options.”

DiLeonardi went on to say the foundation does “our very best to promote honest and open communication and we believe that this encourages our grantees to view a VNA grant as a collaborative process involving frank unfettered discussion of what works, what doesn’t and what might.”

The VNA Foundation funds a wide range of initiatives each year. Grants ranging from $1,000 to $150,000, with most grants falling in the $10,000 to $50,000 range. It only supports organizations working in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties in Illinois. It is especially interested in supporting projects that have measurable outcomes. To learn more about VNA grantees, explore the New Grants page on its website.

The VNA Foundation has four quarterly deadlines for LOIs, which must be submitted through their grants management system (an online tutorial for how to use it is available.) Check out its guidelines.


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