It was seven years ago Health Forward entered into litigation to ensure that HCA’s commitments to the communities we serve through the sale of Health Midwest were fulfilled. Last month, we were pleased to announce we had reached a mutual agreement to allow us to close these proceedings. In all, Health Forward added $175 million to our resources, $15 million of which was actually received through a settlement last year.
What to expect
These new dollars will afford additional opportunities in our work toward eliminating barriers and promoting quality health in our communities. We are delighted about what the future will hold, especially given the caliber of our partners. We are privileged to work with some of the best and brightest individuals and organizations who are leading the way to improve health in our communities.
Many of you are probably wondering what this means for our funding. First and most importantly, we will continue to focus on the areas of healthy communities, safety net and mental health.
However, it is also important to realize this settlement does not represent an immediate expansion of Health Forward’s grantmaking resources. These dollars will need to be thoughtfully invested to begin to generate additional resources over time to grow our grantmaking budget.
So for the next few years, Health Forward’s grant budget will look similar to the current budget. It will gradually increase so that by the end of 2026, we estimate that the grantmaking budget will grow from $20 million to $28 million per year.
In addition to new resources, our board of directors at their February meeting will consider modifications to our spending policy that would preserve our corpus while also maintaining our grantmaking budget. These changes would provide the smoothing effects that let us ride out the highs and lows of markets without disrupting our grantmaking.
In a previous blog post, I commented on the importance of being sure we are realistic about the long-term market returns. While we have seen great market returns in the last few months, it is the responsibility of the board to ensure we are tending the garden so there are resources for many years to come.
It’s been an exciting start to 2017. Health Forward has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with these additional assets to preserve dollars for the future without changing any of our grantmaking today. And over time, these changes will result in even greater opportunities to invest in our community.