Last year was another year of growth and development for the Health Fund, and it’s all captured in our 2016 Annual Report. Read Board Chair Tim Damschroder’s introductory letter below, and click here to read or download the full 2016 Annual Report.
Letter from the Chair
2016 was a transformative year for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. We nearly doubled our grantmaking from 2015, awarding upwards of $21 million to support a healthier Michigan. At the same time, we broadened our work to include activities complementary to our role as a funder, such as convening, evaluation, and grantee engagement. These endeavors will illuminate successful strategies and practices, helping grantees become more effective and guiding future funding for maximum impact.
Of course, grantmaking remains the Health Fund’s central task and daily charge. Our staff is continuously working to sharpen our funding opportunities, improve processes for grantees and applicants, and make smart investments in effective organizations throughout Michigan. In 2016, we adopted our first strategic plan and implemented key components of it through our grantmaking.
Our proactive initiatives advance progress in Healthy Aging, Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles, and Behavioral Health. Our Special Projects & Emerging Ideas program works in partnership with the state to identify key opportunities for transformative systemic change. And our Community Health Impact grants support smaller but critical local projects that could be game-changing for a particular community or cause. We’ve now completed one annual cycle of these initiatives, and are carrying forward the many lessons we learned. While we certainly cherish our role as steward of resources with immense potential
to help Michigan residents, our mission doesn’t stop at writing checks. On the contrary, our mission calls us to the greater, more difficult task of achieving results for Michigan residents.
For example, last year we brought together various grantee cohorts to share their projects and learn from
each other. Through these events, seemingly disparate organizations found common threads that connect their work across peninsulas and populations. As we continue to convene grantees, we’re finding ways to add value for them and experimenting with ways to facilitate ongoing conversations and collaboration.
We also began investing in dedicated evaluation efforts to better understand the collective impact of our grantmaking. This is a complex challenge, as our grantees bring to the table a variety of goals, methods, and theories of change. By working closely with them—and relying on some of those common threads—we’re defining the best ways to gauge progress on key issues.
Beyond these new activities, we’ve ramped up our ongoing efforts to engage grantees and communities. That means more site visits, more advance work with applicants before the proposal deadlines, and more
work to understand our place in Michigan’s healthcare landscape. We accomplished this by hiring two new program officers, a grants manager, our first dedicated communications officer, and a senior fellow for evaluation, together bringing decades of experience in their respective fields. This additional capacity ensures we’re able to be a leader in the important conversations to come about healthcare in Michigan. Looking ahead, the Health Fund will continue to grow our work and leadership, as well as that of our partners. Together, we’ll continue to advance innovation and progress on behalf of Michigan’s children and seniors, as well as their families and all who call Michigan home.