Empire Health Foundation seeks to impact policies and systems by investing in ideas and organizations that make our region measurably healthier. Through outreach, education and action, the Foundation focuses on seven counties: Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams and Whitman, although various initiatives include up to 14 counties. With an $86 million endowment, EHF will manage grants and intermediary grants of a projected $6.5 million in 2014.
 

CURRENT STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

 

Improved Health Outcomes

Reduce obesity, starting with school-aged children.  EHF is working with area school districts to implement multi-pronged, system and policy changes to reduce obesity.  Strategies include the implementation of cost-neutral, school-based scratch cooking programs; financial support for school-based wellness coordinators; and funding of community-based wellness initiatives to increase healthy eating and physical activity in sustainable ways.  In less than two years, there have already been measurable declines in obesity in three of the target school districts.

Prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and mitigate the long-term health effects of complex trauma. EHF is funding trauma training, an intervention specialist and community-based supports at John R. Rogers High School in Spokane Public Schools to reduce out-of-school suspensions and create successful re-engagement strategies for disciplined students. Additionally, EHF is partnering with the Department of Social and Health Services’ Children’s Administration to implement child welfare reforms that will reduce foster care caseloads.   

Improve health outcomes and quality of life for rural aging populations. With a focus on Increased opportunities for rural seniors to stay home following a major life-changing event that may have otherwise resulted in out-of-home placement, EHF will be launching a new initiative to support preventive home visits by investing in technology and caregivers.   We are also working to reduce isolation and increase psychosocial well-being through improvements in seniors’ social connectedness to friends, family, volunteers and paid caregivers.

Improve oral health outcomes and reduce tooth decay.  In an effort to reduce the number of patients presenting in Emergency Rooms with urgent dental needs, EHF is partnering with other funders to create a dental provider network and referral protocol.  We are also working to incorporate more oral health prevention into primary care and community-based settings.

Reduce health disparities in Indian Country.  EHF is supporting community-driven strategies to reduce the rate of suicide and suicide attempts within the Spokane Tribe Community.  EHF also prioritizes increasing economic opportunities on the Spokane Reservation to stimulate living wage jobs. 

 

Improved Health Care Access

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Implementation.  In 2013 EHF formed a subsidiary, Better Health Together (BHT), to optimize outcomes of the ACA.  The Washington  State Health Benefit Exchange selected BHT to serve as our area’s lead agency for the In-Person Assistor Initiative.

Health, Housing, Homeless (H3) initiative.   EHF is working to establish provider networks and performance monitoring to best determine quality improvements that will result in better health and housing outcomes for the homeless population.

Care Coordination.  Through the Health Homes Contract, EHF supports care coordination for those dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare to reduce health care costs while also improving access to care.

 

Increased Availability of Provider Education

Stimulate health workforce development in Eastern Washington.  EHF acted as a catalyst and anchor funder for the development and expansion of a four-year undergraduate medical university in Spokane.  We also serve as a key partner in a consortium to develop campus-based teaching and increased medical residency slots.

 

Strengthened Nonprofit Sector Capacity

Increase collaboration and partnership among the nonprofit sector. EHF’s Capacity Building program aims to support collaborative, multi-sector efforts to impact health issues in our region. Through the grant-writer assistance fund, we provide small seed funding to help attract other resources to this region.

Respond to immediate needs of the nonprofit sector in our region EHF’s Responsive Grant Program provides financial support to 25-40 nonprofit organizations per year working to improve a variety of health outcomes.

Philanthropy Center. When EHF’s Philanthropy Center opens in 2014, it will provide space for convening and increase collaboration among the nonprofit community in Eastern Washington.

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©2009 Empire Health Foundation.