Going deeper to address health and racial equity
Six years ago, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation Trustee Dr. Bill Nelson posed the question, “Is it morally acceptable for one’s zip code and race to determine their health outcomes?” That question initiated a six-year equity learning journey to understand both the social determinants of health and the impact of race on health.
The more we have learned about the social determinants of health, the intersections of health and wealth and the needs of our nonprofit partners, the more strongly we feel that health should never be determined by a person’s race, income, employment status or neighborhood.
We have thought a lot as a foundation about what it means to lead. For RMHF, it means accelerating our values around health and racial equity in communities and organizations who need it most.
RMHF’s strategy must evolve to deepen our commitment to both health and racial equity, and we are excited to share that our new strategic model is built to address these challenges.
How RMHF Trustees and staff define health equity:
Everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy and well as possible. This requires engaging communities and partners to reduce health disparities by removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination and their consequences.
Some thoughts about racial equity:
We are still thinking through our organizational definition of racial equity, but we are informed and inspired by these words from our partner, Race Forward: “…we achieve racial equity when race no longer determines one’s socioeconomic outcomes; when everyone has what they need to thrive, no matter where they live.”
We invite you to read our full updated Strategic Framework, and a letter from RMHF leadership.
Our Investment Areas
Our new grantmaking framework –the ways we choose to invest in our partners — is made up of five main funding strategies which, based on our equity journey, we believe will be most impactful for our mission-aligned partners.
1. Multi-year general operating support
Instead of programmatic grants, we make multi-year, general operating support investments in our partners. This shift is based in our belief that you know best how to leverage resources to have the greatest impact on those you serve. Learn more about the benefits of general operating support. These grants cannot exceed 30% of an organization’s operational budget and will range from $20,000-$100,000/year per organization.
We are not currently accepting organizational profiles at this time. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about our upcoming grant cycles.
2. Capacity building
Strengthening Black and Brown-led and community-based grassroots organizations through capacity building is critical if we are to advance our mission of fostering an equitable and healthy Richmond region and ensure that Black and Brown people or people in low-wealth communities thrive. These grants will range from $1,500 to $15,000 and will be considered and awarded on a rolling basis beginning in July 2022.
3. Opportunity investments
The past few years have brought an overwhelming amount of unforeseen change, and we recognize that organizations often need to respond quickly to urgent and unexpected challenges and opportunities. Opportunity investments are for mission-aligned organizations that need time-sensitive support. Beginning in July 2022, we will consider proposals from mission-aligned organizations that need time-sensitive support. Opportunity investments will range from $1,000 to $7,500. We will make these opportunity investments on a rolling basis until dedicated funds are expended.
4. Foundation-directed, Collaborative investments
We have seen firsthand the power of funders coming together to make significant impacts on the community. Collaborative investments allow us to join forces with like-minded funders, effect large-scale change and invest social, moral, intellectual, reputational and financial capital to address critical issues.
5. Program-related investments and Impact Investing
PRIs and impact investing allow RMHF to provide loans, equity, or other types of investments to our mission-aligned partners that are below market rate and/or offer more flexible terms.
Are you an organization applying for funding?
Read more about our detailed eligibility criteria and grantmaking information.
What does it mean to be “mission-aligned”?
Based on our own mission of “fostering an equitable and healthy Richmond region,” the core work of mission-aligned organizations:
Advances health and racial equity.
Embodies an understanding of the social determinants of health.
Impacts those most affected by inequities.
In addition, we will give priority to organizations that show evidence of internal work at the Board and staff levels to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Connect With Us
We hope you will find that RMHF’s new strategic direction centers our connectedness as humans and neighbors, as we work to advance health and racial equity for all. Our shared wellbeing and health will never be fully realized if some of us survive and thrive, while others of us suffer. That’s why the work we do together is grounded in trust, relationship and the belief that each of us—in the fullness and wholeness of our being—is worthy of love, care and belonging.
We look forward to our work together over the next five years to advance the health and racial equity of our region. Contact us to learn more about how to get involved.
Missed our strategic direction information session?
We recently conducted and recorded a virtual information session to share more about our new strategic framework and the process for applying for grants in 2022. Were you unable to attend? Or would you like to reference the information we covered?
Are you a Richmond region non-profit focused on advancing health and racial equity?
We hope you’ll learn more about our grantmaking process and applying for funding.