Details of $80 million community re-investment announced

GREENVILLE, SC (April 18, 2017) – An audacious plan to reinvest an unprecedented $80 million into health-targeted local grants over the next 20 years launched Tuesday when the Greenville Health Authority (GHA) Board of Trustees gave final approval to guidelines for its “Healthy Greenville” project.

The initiative will fund approximately $4 million in grants each year for the next 20 years for targeted projects into health-related care, research and education that improves the health of Greenville County residents. The four areas to be targeted include access to health care, mental health, healthy eating/exercise as a prevention for many diseases and also social determinants, the social and economic factors that impact the health of a community. These areas were chosen because they were identified as top concerns in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment.

“We don’t want to tackle any one disease so much as we want to fund projects that offer solutions to the root problems that give rise to those diseases,” said Lisa Stevens, the GHA chair. “By working together and thinking outside the box, we can better address issues before they become problems.”

“We want to take advantage of this unique long-term investment opportunity to make changes that are significant enough to actually move the needle and dramatically improve our community’s health,” said Stevens. “With intensive targeted work over the next 20 years, we have the opportunity to become the healthiest county in America by 2036, and so that is our vision. Greenville County should never settle for being anything less than the best.”

The new Healthy Greenville initiative is one of the largest discretionary grant pools in Greenville County history.

The deadline for applicants’ initial letter of intent is May 15. Following evaluation of the letters of intent, select organizations will be invited to submit a full application for funding. Funding will be awarded to those applicants who best meet Healthy Greenville’s criteria, demonstrate a track record of success with previous projects or programs and are able to articulate how their project will move Greenville County toward the vision of being the healthiest county in America by 2036. Collaborative, cross-functional multi-year projects are encouraged.

“Our goal is have projects funded by September,” said Stevens. “We recognize that the application time frame is tight in this first year, but it was vital we invest the needed time on the front end to ensure we developed a good process that would be transparent, fair and lead to truly impactful grants. We’ve carefully outlined our requirements and expectations; now it’s time for the community to take the ball and run with it.”

Community information meetings will be held at the following locations next week:

  • Greenville Memorial Hospital Board Room, 12-1 p.m., Monday, April 24
  • Furman University Chapel, Garden Room, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monday, April 24
  • Hillcrest Memorial Hospital, Conference Room E, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 26
  • Greer Memorial Medical Campus, Medical Office Building 340, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 27

To be eligible to receive a grant, an organization must be one of the following: a non-profit with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, a healthcare provider regardless of affiliation, academic institution, coalitions or collaboratives and/or government agencies. Programs must directly benefit residents of Greenville County through health-related care, research or education initiatives. The minimum grant will be $250,000 per year, with multi-year collaborative projects encouraged.

For details about the initiative and how to apply, visit ghs.org/healthygreenville.

The board-appointed Community Initiatives Task Force included GHA trustees, community leaders and academic experts. The group, which spent more than 400 collective man hours on the project, consulted with stakeholders in the community and experts to develop a grant-making initiative that would serve the health needs of Greenville County. Moving forward, the GHA grants committee will work with external experts each year to review applicants and make final selections.

To succeed, grant recipients must show demonstrable improvement. Progress will be measured through the County Health Rankings, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that tracks the health of residents in all U.S. counties (countyhealthrankings.org).

“While Greenville County is fortunate to have a number of philanthropic organizations investing in local nonprofit organizations, requests from grantees far surpass what founders are able to give,” said Katy Smith, executive director of the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy. “The new annual investment of grant dollars from Healthy Greenville 2036 will be the third largest in Greenville County, behind only the United Way of Greenville County and Hollingsworth Funds. We have a number of health issues in Greenville County that can be impacted with significant and, importantly, sustained philanthropic support, but even more critically with a full strategic commitment to policy and systems changes in partnership with a variety of organizations. I look forward to where Healthy Greenville 2036 will take our community.”

The Greenville Health Authority Board of Trustees is the new operating name for what was previously named the Greenville Health System (GHS) Board of Trustees. The name changed as part of a governance shift which moved the health system from a public, not-for-profit entity to a private, not-for-profit entity. As part of the transition, the health system volunteered to establish the innovative grants program as a way to return to the community an amount equal to the $80 million in tax-payer support the health system received from 1947 through 1997. The system hasn’t received any county tax dollars since 1998.

The $80 million reinvestment is in addition to the support Greenville Health System already provides the community. GHS hospitals serve as vital safety nets for the entire region, with the cost of that uncompensated care averaging $170 million annually for the past three years. GHS’ total quantifiable community benefit for just fiscal year 2016 was $412.8 million, which also reflects GHS’ work in the community and with its partners, including free health screenings and extensive outreach.

“We’re proud of the work done at GHS and how it meets the mission to serve the community – both inside and outside hospitals and physician offices,” said Stevens. “GHS is more than just a hospital or a health system. GHS and the Greenville Health Authority are resources for our community in sickness and in health, and we hope this community reinvestment will be the catalyst that transforms the health of our community and makes us all healthier – not just in 20 years but for generations to come.”

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