Health Forward’s new purpose is just the beginning of a more equitable future

I’ve been looking forward to this day ever since my first day at Health Forward last May. For over a year, the foundation has been working tirelessly on defining our purpose and building new strategies and initiatives. I joined this process in the middle and have been impressed and inspired by the work and dedication of our associates and our partner Bridgespan. 

Health Forward’s purpose:

Every day, we work to support and build inclusive, powerful, healthy communities characterized by racial equity and economically just systems. 

I strongly resonate with this new purpose and am proud to work for an organization dedicated to educating and catalyzing action around racial, economic and health equity. 

But I’m even more proud of the process we took to get to this new day and new future for Health Forward. 

Over the next months, we will be working to build out the initiatives under each strategy to put our plan into action. Our team will be working on adopting the tenets of trust-based philanthropy.

This year-long process involved significant learning, listening, and reflection. It has been thoughtful, deliberate, and inclusive. We spent time reflecting on our work and impact. We listened and learned from other communities working toward health equity but also from the experiences in our own community. We reviewed local and national research to better understand what the data tells us about health disparities. It added a great deal of time to our already busy plates. But it resulted in a plan that left no stone unturned. 

So now what? We have shared our strategies and outcomes, but we still need space and time to build them out. We don’t have all of the answers right now, and the changes we make will not happen overnight. Nor will they happen without engaging new and existing partners and seeking more input from you about how we develop our indicators and processes. 

Over the next months, we will be working to build out the initiatives under each strategy to put our plan into action. Our team will be working on adopting the tenets of trust-based philanthropy. We will continue to infuse the principles of equitable evaluation into our processes. We’ll be working both internally and with partners on communications to make a call for equity, antiracism, and economic inclusion throughout our region. And we will identify opportunities to collaborate and form authentic partnerships to champion collective work. 

Our partners can trust that we are committed to a smooth and transparent transition to our new strategies.

To the Health Forward team and board, I am blessed to join you on this journey and have been inspired by your vision and your constant insistence that, along every step of the way, we work with the communities we so proudly serve.

To our partners, thank you for giving us the time and space needed to develop this new plan. We know that when funders shift strategies it can be an anxious time. We know you have had and will continue to have questions that we can’t yet answer. But we hope you know how much we value you and that you have found us to be a transparent, flexible, and thoughtful partner during this transition. 

I also want to thank our partners, current and new, for sharing your perspective during our learning phase. We know that you are closest to the hearts and understanding of the community and your feedback was and continues to be valued and essential. 

Our partners can trust that we are committed to a smooth and transparent transition to our new strategies and will update you as soon as new opportunities are available later in the year. We ask for your continued patience and for you to freely share your feedback and wisdom as we design our new initiatives to create more equitable spaces and places. 


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