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Cultivating Transformational Impact Through Corporate Foundation Partnerships

Olivia Hairfield
Published:  04/24/2024


Bloomberg Philanthropies and several healthcare institutions throughout the nation have launched a pioneering initiative to establish unique high schools focusing on healthcare education in ten communities across the United States. These schools aim to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue careers in healthcare, addressing both the growing demand for healthcare professionals and the need for increased diversity within the field. Thanks to the partnership with healthcare organizations, the program will be able to provide students with hands-on training and mentorship opportunities from healthcare professionals, preparing the students for careers in various healthcare sectors such as nursing, pharmacy, and public health. 

The road to this groundbreaking initiative has lessons for all healthcare philanthropy professionals pursuing transformational opportunities in their community. I asked leaders from two of the organizations in the partnership—Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Northwell Health Foundation—to share their experiences and to pass along any words of wisdom for the AHP membership.



Insights from Meridith Egan, senior director of foundation relations, and Dana Raftas, associate vice president of institutional and events fundraising, from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


1. Can you share insights into the background and motivations that led to this initiative?

We received this philanthropic lead through a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Board of Trustee member. From there, we spoke to Bloomberg Philanthropies (BP), who walked through the grant opportunity. BP’s vision was to create an innovative, out-of-box education model that prepares youths for successful healthcare career opportunities while addressing the healthcare talent shortage. We quickly determined that this opportunity was mission-aligned as it supports building a diverse and inclusive workforce, strengthening the healthcare talent pipeline, and contributing to targeted community development. CHOP’s community impact strategy addresses social determinants of health, such as education and income, and this initiative provides pathways to higher education and jobs—and moreover, careers with family-sustaining wages—which ultimately lead to better health.


2. Were there any challenges encountered during the initial fundraising phase, and how were they addressed or mitigated?

The process was accelerated, lasting six months from start to finish. Bloomberg reached out with the opportunity in June 2023, we held conversations with internal and external partners over the summer, created our model collaboratively with Mastery Schools, and submitted our proposal in August 2023. A formal site visit with Bloomberg followed in September 2023, and BP gave us notification of the award in November 2023. 


3. How do you envision the long-term impact of this initiative on your community?

This initiative will create a network of stakeholders aligned around student-centered career development, nurture and teach children about the exciting healthcare careers at their fingertips, provide clear direction into always-open pathways within CHOP, and continue this support and encouragement via ongoing, carefully curated engagement. We will reach all students at Hardy High during their tenure, and ensure that all students gain the information, experience, confidence, skills, credentials, and relationships needed to excel in the healthcare workforce and/or post-secondary education. Ultimately, success is making careers in healthcare accessible and tangible for youth in West and Southwest Philadelphia. By the end of year five, the Coalition will have exposed all Mastery students to healthcare careers and begun hiring these graduates into the Coalition’s defined career pathways, and other roles, at CHOP.


4. Do you have any advice for organizations cultivating partnerships similar to this one?

Continue to encourage donor referrals from volunteer leaders. Also, continue to connect with hospital senior leadership in relation to enterprise philanthropic goals. Our senior leadership team demonstrated tremendous support and collaboration around this opportunity. They provided not only senior sponsorship and guidance on the model but in joining the final philanthropic pitch, they demonstrated a level of endorsement and confidence in our initiative which was important to the donor. 



Insights from Benjamin A. Maltz, assistant vice president of corporate and foundation giving, at Northwell Health Foundation


1. Can you share insights into the background and motivations that led to this initiative?

For New York City Public Schools, building pathways to students' future economic security and ensuring students are able to earn a living wage upon entering the workforce is the highest order priority. A key way they are making this happen is through FutureReadyNYC—a reimagined high school experience where across every grade, students get access to work-based learning, early college credit, and industry credentials in high-wage, high-demand industries, and support to build a strong postsecondary plan to accelerate their path to rewarding careers and economic security. 

Northwell Health has played an integral role in FutureReadyNYC, serving as the first anchor employer partner. The success of that partnership was a direct precursor to the decision to partner on this initiative.
For Northwell Health, a key motivating factor was recognition of the importance of attracting and preparing more students for careers in healthcare as a key component of building the healthcare workforce that New York needs now and in the future. The need for qualified healthcare workers in NYC and throughout the country is acute, with critical shortages in numerous high-demand jobs including licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical laboratory technologists, physician assistants, physical therapy assistants and aides, psychiatric aides, respiratory therapists, social workers, and surgical technicians. This new partnership directly addresses these needs.


2. Were there any challenges encountered during the initial fundraising phase, and how were they addressed or mitigated?

The grant application process was very detailed and required many hours spent across each of the teams involved. That said, the collaborative process was a major part of building a deep base of partnership that will allow the school to succeed.


3. How do you envision the long-term impact of this initiative on your community?

This school will be transformative for this community—giving students equitable access to living-wage careers and the skills and tools they need to succeed in those careers while also directly addressing the massive healthcare talent need. In addition, this school will serve as a hub for students and teachers across the city—including ensuring healthcare students and teachers can access cutting-edge simulation lab equipment and enabling career-connected learning innovations to be piloted and ultimately scaled citywide. 


4. Do you have any advice for organizations cultivating partnerships similar to this one?

The most crucial element for the success of this work is the deep collaboration from leadership—this level of partnership is unprecedented in New York City. Leaders across each of the organizations are making major investments of time, people, and resources over the short and long term. Beyond this, we also believe the following are crucial for success in projects like this:

  • Clear alignment on roles for each organization.
  • Early alignment across all teams on the goals of the project.
  • Clear and workable project management tools to be able to share updates and statuses across many stakeholders.
  • Building a broad base of supporters early on.

A Round of Applause

Congratulations to all the organizations involved in this important initiative. Thank you, Benjamin, Meridith, and Dana, for sharing this story with the AHP membership. We appreciate learning from your experiences and look forward to seeing the results. 



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Meet The Author

Olivia Hairfield
Marketing Senior Manager
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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