Paso del Norte Health Foundation: Southwest Grants

OVERVIEW: The Paso del Norte Health Foundation focuses grantmaking on a wide range of programs for people living in West Texas and Southern New Mexico,. Grants tend to be in the $20,000 to $150,000 range, but may be getting larger in the years ahead.

FUNDING AREAS: Air quality, youth, early childhood development, aging population, healthy eating, exercise, tobacco prevention, alcohol control, mental health

IP TAKE: If you serve select poor and historically unemployed counties of West Texas and Southern New Mexico, this is a great locally focused funder to know. There has been a big push for youth funding in the area, especially since over 750,000 residents in this geographic area are under 18.

PROFILE: Established in 1995 from the $130 million sale of Providence Memorial Hospital to the Tenet Healthcare Corporation, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PdNHF) is committed to improving the health and wellness of people in West Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico through a partner foundation. There are over 2.2 million people living in these regions, with a 78 percent Hispanic population and high rates of unemployment, poverty, and poor health. Since 2018, the private Paso del Norte Health Foundation has been a supporting organization to the Paso del Norte Foundation to "grow its assets through philanthropy, increase partnerships with external funders and ultimately increase grantmaking to nonprofits in the region, leading to measurable improvements to health."

The foundation worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of Health to assess local needs and complete the El Paso Health Report, the first survey of its kind in the region. Rather than going the traditional philanthropy route, the foundation engaged in brain-storming gatherings in the community and developed three levels of grants: multi-year grants, program grants, and planning grants.

The foundation funds five priority areas: healthy eating and active living, tobacco control and alcohol prevention, mental and emotional well-being, healthy relationships with families and community organizations, and health leadership. Here, we will highlight three of these top initiatives, as provided by the foundation’s director of communications, Ida Ortegon.

  • Think.Change – The major goal of the Think.Change initiative is to reduce stigma associated with mental illness. Through this Initiative, the foundation uses a collective impact framework and research-informed constructs to reduce stigma. As an emerging initiative, community partners (i.e. Brain Trust, El Paso Community Behavioral Health Consortium and other regional partner groups) will work together to identify appropriate indicators to measure change toward the initiative’s goals and objectives.
  • Healthy Eating Active Living - Proper nutrition and physical activity are fundamental to a healthy lifestyle and the reduction of chronic disease. The initiative funds policy, research and evaluation studies, leverages resources for food policy councils, leads efforts for obesity prevention resolutions, and collaborates in urban design efforts for active lifestyles. Through this initiative, the PDNHF also established the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living ( The foundation intends to make healthy eating and active living the easy choice for all residents in the Paso del Norte region. 
  • REALIZE Board – This project is part of our REALIZE initiative. REALIZE Board aims to provide leadership development specifically for board members of organizations working to improve health or other human services. At this stage, we anticipate two components for REALIZE – Board: (1) training related to the fundamental skills and knowledge that all board members should have and demonstrate, and (2) broader competencies aligned with the REALIZE model but tailored for board members.

In the U.S., grantmaking is generally restricted to El Paso and Hudspeth Counties in West Texas and Doña Ana, Luna, and Otero Counties in Southern New Mexico. At the end of a recent year, the foundation reported nearly $228 million in assets and over $6 million in total giving. That year, the foundation awarded about 90 grants between $1,600 and $455,000. Most of the foundation’s money comes from investment income, as investments are managed to provide a perpetual source of support for the foundation's programs. The foundation does award multi-year grants, but they are evaluated on an annual basis.

From the beginning, PDNHF’s master plan has been to phase out smaller program and planning grants and focus on multi-million dollar, multi-year commitments to make a larger impact. The biggest restrictions with this funder include no unsolicited grant applications, no brick or mortar funding, and no direct payment for acute care.

The staff also maintains a current news section, so you can read about recent happenings here. Proposal deadlines vary, but are typically awarded 60 to 90 days from the grant opportunity announcement. Grant workshops are also provided for prospective grantees, which you can learn more about by contacting the staff at (915) 544-7636 or


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