Tom David - A Defining Moment for Health Philanthropy

Tom David is a Senior Strategist at Community Clinics Initiative, a project of Tides that was started in partnership with The California Endowment and has granted over $100 million to more than 90 percent of California’s community clinics. David recently wrote a rousing commentary for last week’s Grantmakers In Health annual meeting calling health foundations to act – now. An excerpt of the eight page article is below, or you can read the entire commentary.

From A Defining Moment for Health Philanthropy, by Tom David, published by Grantmakers In Health:

After years of inertia and political stalemate, there has been growing recognition nationwide that reforming the health care system is an essential element of our long-term national economic recovery and industrial competitiveness. Even if partisan politics succeeds in derailing national health insurance reform, that will leave it to the states to craft their own local solutions because inaction is not a viable option. There will be implications for every corner of the system, with much left to be done to significantly improve quality while “bending the cost curve.” It will also be a major undertaking to simply help the American people understand how any new legislation – whether national or local – will affect them.

For most health foundations, whose missions tend to focus on issues of access and improving health outcomes, I contend that this is exactly the moment for which they were created. It is unlikely that anyone’s strategic plan had 2010 pegged as the year for decisive action, but here we are anyway. The context for our work has been neither so dire nor so promising in the lifetimes of most of our organizations. The way we choose to act will define us for years to come.

Read the entire eight page commentary which also includes ways in which health foundations might transcend their traditional aversion to risk and lead in this time of turbulence.