Before we are too solidly into 2019, we want to stop, catch our breath, and take a look back at what a big year 2018 was for our communities and for our foundation.
Health Forward Foundation
Obviously our big news of 2018 was the culmination of two years of work on our new identity. Our new name, Health Forward Foundation, and our new logo are more focused on the vision we have for healthy people in healthy communities.
Does this new identity change who we are? Nope. We are still committed to serving those most in need, partnering with the community, and advocating for health and wellness. We’re still committed to achieving these ideals through resources, advocacy, and leadership. Our name is just much easier for you to remember now.
Each year we create a snapshot of the grants we provide throughout the region. In 2018, we awarded a total of $20.7 million through 172 grants and special initiatives. (See the image above for the breakdown of our grantmaking.)
And yet, that total doesn’t tell the whole story of the dedicated work our grantees and community partners do each and every day to build a culture of health. If you have the time, scroll through our blog to catch a small glimpse of the incredible work happening in our communities. We thank each of you for your tireless service.
New faces at Health Forward
Health Forward grew again this year, adding three new associates to our family. We’re excited to have these individuals helping increase our capacity to perform our best work. Meet the new associates in their blog posts:
Last year we set a two-year policy agenda for the first time in our organization’s history. We did so in acknowledgement that policy change can be slow and incremental. We wanted to dedicate enough time to each issue.
Shortly into 2018, Cass and Lafayette counties joined the regional prescription drug monitoring program and effectively crossed one of our top agenda items right off the list. Even though this agenda item was so quickly resolved, it did take time and effort from many dedicated groups. (Here’s why drug monitoring is so important.)
However the good news doesn’t stop there: midway through the year, the Department of Social Services MO HealthNet division issued a new policy effectively identifying schools as a service provider of behavioral health services.
This means schools can request reimbursement from MO HealthNet (Missouri Medicaid) for health services they provide on-site. Students can receive the care they need without leaving school, and parents don’t have to take time off work to transport their child to appointments. Read about this in detail in a blog post from Show-Me School-Based Alliance’s Jasmine Burris.
This policy was a big win for Missouri schools and students. We thank all the organizations and individuals who worked so tirelessly to get this policy in place.
Finding a solution to food insecurity
In July 2018, we received a $125,000 grant from the Convergence Partnership Fund of Tides Foundation. The funding is helping our partners use storytelling to advance policies transforming the regional food system, including passage and implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill and reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
This effort is allowing residents to identify how federal policy shapes access to healthy food in their neighborhoods. Building on the strengths already existing in each community, residents are championing policies that promote food security. The initiative engages numerous partners across multiple sectors, including health, food systems and policy, agriculture, academia, business, faith, government, and others to advance priorities at the federal, state, and local levels.
Thank you for all you do to keep moving the health of our communities forward. We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.