Health Forward creates fund focused on advocacy, policy

Health Forward is pleased to announce our first request for proposal focused exclusively on advocacy.

Advocacy plays an important role in our pursuit to eliminate barriers to quality health for those most in need. This funding opportunity is meant to build upon our existing policy agenda and complement the work of our other grantmaking rounds.

We have historically worked alongside our partners and grantees to focus on public policy at the local and state levels and have provided grant dollars toward advocacy across all of our funding rounds. 

Ensuring that advocates have the tools and resources they need to be effective in their advocacy efforts is a pillar of our work. For this reason, we made the decision to create the Policy and Civic Engagement Fund.

Before we discuss the Policy and Civic Engagement Fund further, we want to emphasize that this fund does not replace the policy support Health Forward offers through our traditional funding rounds.

What you should know:

  • Letter of intent deadline: 12 p.m., Sept. 18, 2019
  • Health access and grassroots organizing priorities: Up to $75,000 for up to 2 years.
  • Housing policy priority: Up to $50,000 for up to 2 years.
  • Download the request for proposal


Through this fund, we will award no more than $1 million total in 2019, and have earmarked an additional $1 million in 2020 for continuation of the 2019 awarded grants. We will not hold an open Policy and Civic Engagement RFP process in 2020.

 We have selected three areas of priority for the Policy and Civic Engagement Fund:

  1. Advancing policies that expand health coverage and improve access to care. Health Forward has consistently prioritized access to care in both our advocacy and grantmaking. After two years of funding under this priority, we aim to see the overall political context become more favorable for targeted policy changes; a stronger field of advocates coalesce around priorities that are informed by community needs; and new and existing policymaker champions activated toward improving access to care. 
  2. Increasing grassroots power and influence in the health policy arena. Hearing the voices of those directly affected by health disparities is a critical component of creating and maintaining health systems that address the realities of impacted individuals. After two years of funding under this priority, we aim to see increased participation in grassroots programs; constituent leadership power increases; and organizations that are better situated for long-term organizing.  
  3. Increasing political will for policies that improve health by investing safe, affordable, and healthy housing. Housing has the potential to help, or harm, health in major ways. After two years of funding under this priority, we aim to see increased public awareness of the connection between housing and health; increased coalescing of a multi-sector field around core messaging that is capable of influencing policy discussions; and the articulation of feasible policy proposals as solutions to identified challenges in housing and health.

Eligible organizations will select one of the three funding priorities they will be applying under and submit one letter of intent. 

We are hosting three pre-proposal workshops, one for each priority. Organizations are welcome and encouraged to attend any and all workshops that intersects with their work. Space is limited and registration is required.


  • Health Care Access Priority – Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. Register >>
  • Grassroots Organizing Priority – Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. Register >>
  • Housing Policy Priority – Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m. Register >>


The process for this funding opportunity will differ from how Health Forward has historically approached application processes in the following ways:

  • The letter of intent will be used as a screening tool to invite applicants to submit a full proposal online. We recognize that crafting a full proposal comes at a cost to applicants. We want those that spend the time crafting a full proposal to be as competitive as possible.
  • Funded organizations will be asked to submit a streamlined renewal application in 2020. We hope that applicants will have some of the security associated with multi-year funding while also complying with our fiscal needs.

Please read the Policy and Civic Engagement RFP for additional information on deadlines and the selection process. If you have specific questions, or would like to discuss the opportunity please reach out to me at

We are excited to see the creative solutions that develop from this opportunity, and hope to be better able to evaluate our advocacy investments and learn from the work of our partners to inform future grantmaking.


Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006