Voice For Change

2016 Annual Report

Message from the Chairman of the Board

One Mission

The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop of Texas, 
Chairman of the Board
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop of Texas

Chairman of the Board

In Mark's gospel, Jesus gives us the greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." He says, "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself."'

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we learn we are to be neighbors to people in our community. Like the Samaritan, the Jesus we follow calls us to look beyond perceived boundaries and to care for the health and well-being of all people. The parable is a clear description of who God is and how we are to be in community.

Since its inception, the Episcopal Health Foundation has become a strong voice for health in Texas. Our mission is focused on improving health, not just healthcare -- especially for the poor and people with few resources. EHF is also part of a larger voice that continues to build and strengthen a different kind of community in our part of Texas.

We build true communities when we talk to one another, listen to and respect one another, engage and serve together to make healthier communities. This new kind of community is defined by our mutual desire to reflect the love that Christ Jesus has for us, rather than what separates or divides us. This new kind of community reflects the parable of the Good Samaritan, not the "toxic charity" of doing something because it makes us "feel good."

We have a health crisis in Texas. Our state ranks near the bottom when it comes to the health of our children, parents and families. We have the highest number of people without health insurance in America. The number of Texas children suffering from asthma is enough to fill every seat in Houston's NRG Stadium eight times over.

Texans will be better off tomorrow because the Episcopal Church through EHF is making changes today.

In 2016, EHF invested in innovative solutions to address the root causes of poor health. Our research expertise helped communities better understand their unique health needs and challenges. We built partnerships with those most affected by our work so, going forward, communities are able to begin to take charge of their own health. This approach is dynamic and promises improved results because of the strength of the research and the partnerships we have built.

All of this work isn't done inside a building in Downtown Houston. It's done at a weeknight health coalition meeting in Beaumont. It's helping a mother in Austin access affordable health services, instead of being on the outside of the health system looking in. And, it's partnering with more than 150 Episcopal churches across 57 Texas counties to organize and focus congregational efforts to have the greatest impact on each of their community's unique health needs.

EHF is the Episcopal Diocese of Texas at work engaging a mission of healthy communities for all. We are bringing the very best practices, research and understanding about what actually changes the health of a community into our work of serving.

Our one mission expresses our faith that Jesus invites us to support the well-being and health of those around us.

Like the Good Samaritan, our one mission removes boundaries and becomes immersed in a new kind of community that removes the barriers to good health. EHF's work now, and moving forward, is to model what it means to be a "neighbor" to those within the community, so that we become healthier together.



Finding our Voice

Elena Marks
, President & CEO
Elena Marks
, President & CEO

Health, not just healthcare.

We say it during every presentation in the community. We say it during every decision-making meeting in our office. We even say it with a hashtag - #HealthNotJustHealthcare.

It’s the voice of the Episcopal Health Foundation. In 2016, our focus on improving health, not just healthcare touched all aspects of our work. That’s because we believe ALL Texans deserve to be healthy and we’re committed to transform the health of our communities by going beyond the doctor’s office.

The poor health outcomes across Texas and our diocese didn’t happen overnight. The focus of Texas’ healthcare system must shift from delivering medical care alone to promoting health and wellness in the communities they serve. Not enough resources are being directed toward the social challenges that directly affect the physical and mental well-being of Texans: poverty, food insecurity, substandard housing, social connections, community safety and more. Communities become healthier when we change the way systems of health work for those most in need. We believe these systemic changes can no longer be seen as optional, but as a necessity for the well-being of our communities.

During the past year, EHF’s voice for change echoed across the 57 Texas counties we serve. We invested $21.4 million with more than 120 grant partners, many of whom continue to address the underlying causes that make people unhealthy. We worked directly with more than 110 Episcopal congregations in diverse projects that moved them beyond church walls and into their communities. We produced rigorous research as a way to develop more effective solutions to reform our health systems and get better results. And we engaged with communities throughout our region through dozens of convenings and collaborations.

EHF’s work extended from the shadows of downtown Houston to rural neighborhoods in Robertson County to almost everywhere in between. We forged new partnerships with state and national foundations to bring in more resources to take on our health mission in communities large and small. We continued to make sure that the voices of ordinary people are the foundation for change in every area we work.

As you read about our work in 2016, I hope you’ll share our passion for improving health, not just healthcare. We look forward to working with congregations, community partners and many others to achieve healthy communities together and become voices for change.

Strengthening the Health System - Timmy Williams - before and after

See how EHF is strengthening the health system in Texas

"EHF doesn't look at itself as a funder. The foundation looks at itself as a way to begin to change the system."

Timmy Williams was on the outside of the health system looking in. And it almost cost him his life.

Timmy is a single father living in Houston. He's HIV-positive and lives with amputated legs. But in the years before his health began to spiral, the only healthcare he received was when he was so sick he had to be rushed to the emergency room. Timmy lived near the largest medical center in the world, but when it came to getting access to a system that could help him care for serious, chronic health conditions, Timmy didn't know where to turn.

Read Timmy’s story and learn how EHF and our partners seek to address health from all angles to change the way systems of health work for those most in need.

Beyond These Walls

EHF Congregational Engagement

It’s five o’clock in the evening, and a group of smiling faces gather together inside the church to proudly show off their newly acquired certificates. The scene may sound familiar, but the story behind each face represents a dramatic effort that’s changing the way congregations work to address health in their communities.

“We get used to hearing words like ‘crazy’,” said one participant at Trinity Episcopal Church in The Woodlands. “I’m trying to get those words out of my vocabulary and realize that it’s a problem.”

Welcome to just one of the many mind-changing moments at an EHF Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training session. It’s an eight-hour course designed to equip people with the tools necessary to better understand and respond to signs of mental illness and to effectively refer people in crisis to professional help.

“I now believe we should be more open about the importance of mental health,” said a MHFA participant at Trinity Episcopal Church in Baytown. “We should be communicating that everyone is susceptible, so we all need compassionate awareness.”

In 2016, EHF organized MHFA training sessions at 52 congregations across the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. From Galveston to Tyler, more than 440 participants graduated from the training. Graduates included not just church members, but first responders, community leaders and others from across each community.  After the training, 98 percent of the graduates said they now feel more confident to recognize the signs that someone may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

These training sessions show how EHF worked to increase access to mental health services and helps to advocate for mental health policy, it’s just one example of how our Congregational Engagement team helped congregations go beyond church walls and work with their neighbors to improve the mental and physical health of their communities.

From anti-poverty initiatives to youth ministry programs to civic engagement plans, we spent our second year helping congregations organize and focus their efforts to have the greatest impact on their communities’ health.  EHF’s Congregational Engagement team made presentations at more than a dozen diocesan events and worked with more than 100 Episcopal congregations on a variety of programs and projects. To further our work in the future, we also established a “Kitchen Cabinet” of 17 lay and clergy leaders to provide advice and serve as EHF ambassadors.

EHF’s Congregational Engagement work contributes to the diocesan focus on missional communities. From the smallest towns in East Texas to the largest neighborhoods in Houston, we want to increase the understanding of what really changes the health of a community. Then, we work alongside churches to serve our neighbors together.

Congregational Engagement Programs
EHF Financial Support to Congregations


Nacogdoches Congregation

Congregations reveal dramatic impact of Mental Health
First Aid training

See the valuable skills participants say they learned from EHF's Mental Health First Aid training in 2016


Congregation Spotlight: Trinity Episcopal Church, Marble Falls

See how Trinity, Marble Falls began a journey to build a community-wide coalition for a hunger-free Burnet County

San Pedro Congregation meeting

Congregation Spotlight: Iglesia Episcopal San Pedro, Pasadena

Learn how San Pedro, Pasadena made connections to address concerns and spark change in its community

Sharing our Voice


Elena Marks at Tyler roadshow

Philanthropy isn’t the answer to bad government

See the nationally-recognized opinion column written by EHF's Elena Marks and Houston Endowment's Ann Stern arguing that governments should stop relying on philanthropy to fix poor public policy.

Taking blood-pressure at clinic

Rethinking the nonprofit funding formula

In a popular V1SION Blog post, EHF Program Officer Katy Butterwick looked at the dramatic impact of improving nonprofit staff by funding operations, not just programs.

Elena Marks’ appearance on Houston Newsmakers

Watch KPRC-TV Channel 2 host Khambrel Marshall interview Elena Marks about EHF's vision to create healthy communities for all across 57 Texas counties.

Funding innovative solutions

EHF Grantmaking in 2016


$21.4 Million

EHF 2016 Grants

2016 Grant Partner Highlights


Angel’s Story

Meet Angel and learn about an EHF-funded program at Northwest Assistance Ministries that goes beyond the doctor's office to help him, and other children like him, identify the root causes of recurring asthma attacks.

Operators in front of monitors

Developing a Game Changer for Mental Health

A first-of-its-kind program funded by EHF hopes to better connect families to mental health help and eliminate the costly need for Houston police officers to respond.


Building a System of Change

See how EHF grant partner ProUnitas, Inc. is creating a system to connect low-income students in Houston with desperately needed health, education and wellness services.

East Texas Human Needs Network

Addressing Health From All Angles

Learn how Tyler's East Texas Human Needs Network leads a community-wide effort to tackle poverty and it’s dramatic impact on health.

2016 Grant Partners

Access Health $125,000

AIDS Foundation Houston $77,000

AIDS Services of Austin, Inc. $279,452

Alliance of Community Assistance Ministries, Inc. $241,000

Austin Child Guidance Center $121,855

Austin Harm Reduction Coalition $251,400

Austin Interfaith Sponsoring Committee, Inc. $150,000

Austin Travis County Integral Care $100,000

Aware Central Texas  $50,000

Boat People S.O.S., Inc. $75,000

BUILD Health Challenge $310,000

Capital IDEA $100,000

Capital IDEA Houston $500,000

Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. $50,000

Catholic Charities of Central Texas $50,000

The Center $145,000

Center for Public Policy Priorities $150,000

Child Advocates of Fort Bend $100,000

ChildBuilders $100,000

Children at Risk  $100,000

Children's Defense Fund - Smith County $308,666

Christ Clinic $225,000

Communities in Schools, Greater Central Texas  $140,010

Communities in Schools, Houston $100,000

Communities for Recovery $160,000

Community Healthcore $144,178

Cy-Hope $38,500

D.O.R.S. Community Services $66,970

Early Matters $130,610

East Texas Behavioral Healthcare Network $101,884

East Texas Human Needs Network $308,863

El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission $866,000

El Centro de Corazón  $125,000

Enroll America $100,000

Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services $100,000

Episcopal Diocese of Texas $5,000,000

Episcopal Relief & Development $200,000

Family Services of Greater Houston $100,000

Foundation Communities $111,720

Fund for Shared Insight $180,000

GO! Austin VAMOS! Austin $65,000

Gulf Coast Leadership Council $150,000

Harris County Protective Services for Children & Adults $110,641

Harris Health System $25,000

Health Affairs $100,000

Health Horizons of East Texas, Inc. $329,600

Healthcare for the Homeless - Houston $125,000

Heart of Texas Community Health Center $25,000

Hope and Healing Center $168,676

Houston Achievement Place $150,000

Houston Area Community Services $25,000

Houston Area Urban League $300,000

Houston Galveston Institute, Inc. $183,816

The Immunization Partnership  $100,000

Innovative Alternatives, Inc. $244,900

Interface Samaritan Counseling Centers  $175,000

Interfaith Community Clinic $100,000

Jewish Family Service $125,000

Julie Rogers "Gift of Life" Program $100,000

Krist Samaritan Center for Counseling and Education $150,000

Legacy Community Health $25,000

Lone Star Circle of Care  $175,000

Lone Star Family Health Center $25,000

Manos de Cristo $40,000

Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program $200,000

Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute $500,000

Memorial Assistance Ministries  $50,000

Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation $25,000

The Montrose Center $10,000

National Alliance on Mental Illness - Greater Houston  $25,000

North Pasadena Community Outreach  $10,000

Northeast Texas Public Health District $10,000

Northwest Assistance Ministries $325,000

Patient Care Intervention Center $250,000

People's Community Clinic $250,000

Phoenix Center  $100,000

Planned Living Assistance Network of Central Texas  $107,000

ProUnitas  $125,000

Rape and Suicide Crisis of Southeast Texas, Inc.  $45,000

The Rose  $200,000

The SAFE Alliance $290,000

Samaritan Center for Counseling and Pastoral Care  $75,000

Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas $60,000

Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler  $166,160

S.E.A.R.C.H. Homeless Services $236,105

Special Health Resources for Texas  $125,000

Spring Branch Community Health Center  $125,000

South Central Houston Action Council, Inc. $144,500

St. Joseph Foundation $432,351

St. Paul Children’s Foundation $25,000

St. Vincent's House  $75,000

Teen Health Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine  $100,000

Tejas Health Care  $100,000

Texans Care for Children, Inc.  $100,000

Texans Together Education Fund $10,000

Texas Alliance for Health Care $90,000

Texas Association of Charitable Clinics  $150,000

Texas Behavioral Health Funders Collaborative  $25,000

The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy $750,000

Texas Evaluation Network $8,000

Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy $100,000

Texas Organizing Project Education Fund  $250,000

Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility  $113,080

Texas Rural Leadership Program  $10,000

Trinity Center  $25,000

Tyler Family Circle of Care $10,000

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston $100,000

Waco Foundation/Prosper Waco  $586,735

The Women's Home  $93,750

Young Invincibles  $75,000

Voicing the Case for Change

EHF Research

The headline grabbed our attention -- More than 1 million Texans eligible for federal financial help to buy Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance. But an EHF analysis of ACA enrollment numbers found that while the data showed the potential for more Texans to get help to pay for health insurance, the ACA as implemented in Texas still offered little hope for those with the lowest incomes to afford a plan. Unless the state expanded Medicaid or came up with another system of coverage, EHF researchers found that low-income Texans would remain uninsured.

Numbers alone don’t tell the whole story.

That’s why EHF’s research team is dedicated to providing the expertise necessary to go beyond the numbers to discover what’s needed for ALL Texans to access affordable health services. We are using issue briefs, research reports and data maps to develop more effective solutions and approaches to reform our health system and get better results.

EHF partnered with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy to release eight research reports on the ACA in Texas in 2016. The reports examined critical issues like the cost of health insurance, how well Texans understood the terms of their health plan, and the impact of the ACA on Hispanics and young adults across the state. Each report sparked ideas for change and improvement in access to care. The reports were included in more than 100 stories covered by media outlets across Texas and the nation.

Our new, interactive county health and children’s health snapshot tool debuted in 2016 and helped communities across 57 counties better understand their unique health needs and challenges. We added several interactive data tools to help EHF’s grant partners, congregations and other groups explore population growth trends and see county-level numbers for ACA enrollment in Texas.

EHF‘s research team partnered with key philanthropies in Texas to look at the systems that deliver healthcare across the state, so we can help lead the call to improve them.  EHF and four other Houston foundations funded a study on primary care capacity among safety-net providers in Harris County that identified opportunities for system improvement in clinic operations, access to specialty care, and delivery of women’s health services. Another partnership produced a widely-cited statewide report showing that significant health differences for people of color in Texas are creating a huge economic burden for the state. 

Finally, in 2016 EHF began to focus research efforts on rural health across Texas and our service area. Rural communities make up a large portion of the 57 counties EHF serves, and we’re dedicated to learning more about the unique health needs and specific solutions required to improve health in these communities. EHF teamed up with state government agencies, rural healthcare associations and other health foundations in Texas to take on these projects. In 2016, EHF’s rural effort developed research reports, community engagement opportunities, a rural clinic study and a comprehensive report on the impact of rural hospital closures across Texas.

When it comes to health in Texas, EHF’s research team continues to go beyond the numbers and make the case for change to improve the health of ALL Texans. 

EHF Research Reports

Woman with child at clinic

Texans lack understanding of health insurance terms, plans

An EHF report found 25% of Texans say they don’t understand basic health insurance terms.

Health check-up

Economic Impacts of Health Disparities in Texas

Report shows poor outcomes for people of color in Texas create huge economic burden for the state.

Mother and baby

Providing Health Care to Those in Need

Report finds safety-net clinics in Harris County say access to specialty care, adding mental health services, and expanding Medicaid are their top concerns.

EHF Research - A Closer Look

A Closer Look at ACA Marketplace Enrollment in Texas

Report provides county-by-county enrollment data for all Texas counties.

Listening to the Community’s Voice

EHF Community Engagement

Take a drive through Beaumont’s historic South Park neighborhood and you can’t plainly see the health concerns of those who live there. But spend a just a few minutes at a Monday evening meeting of the Beaumont Health Coalition, and some of the poor health outcomes become clearer.

Lack of access to medical care. Mental health worries. Diabetes and heart disease.

That’s why the Beaumont Health Coalition was created. It’s a group of more than 20 community leaders working to improve health and drive change in the community. It all started after Deacon Pat Ritchie at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont attended an EHF community meeting. She decided she would organize a follow-up convening to begin to tackle the health concerns across the city.

“Transformation will never occur if some of us aren’t willing to be responsible,” Ritchie said.

Along with Ritchie, EHF organized, facilitated and established the coalition in an effort to help Beaumont residents begin to take charge of improving their own health.  The effort is one example of EHF’s commitment to bring leaders, neighborhood residents and parts of the health system together to look for real solutions to the specific health issues they face in their communities.

“We’re there to facilitate, build organizational skills, and support them all along the way,” said Elena Marks, EHF’s president and CEO.  “But ultimately, the success of any of these coalitions and community engagement efforts requires that the community members own and lead the work themselves.”

More than 150 miles away in Madisonville, a team from the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University held a similar community health meeting at the Madison County Courthouse. It was the first step of a rural convening project in Madison, Grimes and Robertson counties funded by EHF. The goal is to help area leaders hear directly from members of their community, so they can better understand and respond to their unique health needs.

Along with organizing, convening and coalition building, EHF’s community engagement team hit the road in 2016 with a new training course. Three workshops provided EHF grant partners, community organizations and Episcopal congregations with skills needed to learn from those they’re serving when identifying relevant health issues and making decisions on how to address them.  More than 90 people representing 60 different organizations and churches attended the workshops.

EHF believes a healthy community is a community that listens to everyone – especially the voices of those with the least power. We’re dedicated to helping grant partners, churches and other organizations working to improve community health listen to ALL voices when creating solutions to meet the needs of their neighbors.

Pat Ritchie

Q&A - How EHF helped me start a health conversation in my community

Pat Ritchie serves as deacon of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont. Ritchie recently called and facilitated a convening of community leaders in health and social services in Beaumont.

Measuring our Voice

EHF Impact and Evaluation

Sometimes evaluation creates a negative impression, especially when it is imposed and offers little actionable insight. But when evaluation is applied well, it can offer an important set of tools to all of us working to improve the health of the communities where we live, work and play. At EHF, we have an evaluation and learning system well underway to support us in our key areas of work: grant-making, congregational engagement, research and convening.

Like other types of organizations, foundations are increasingly being asked to evaluate contributions to shared impact. This of course assumes that foundations are contributing a social good beyond the mere financing of social interventions. The questions we seek to answer through evaluation center on strategy: the stewardship of foundation resources, the quality and achievements of EHF programs and other investments, and the pathways to change systems as EHF works to advance the health of its 57 Texas counties.

Girl holding green apples

EHF's 2015 Impact Evaluation Report

EHF is committed to creating healthy communities for the 10 million Texans in the 57 counties we serve. To help us understand the impact of our work, we've implemented a Strategic Learning and Evaluation System and have produced our first Impact Evaluation Report.

Board and staff


The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Chair

Linnet F. Deily, Executive Chair

Freda Wilkerson Bass

Robert T. Blakely

David T. Harvin

James Henderson

The Rev. Lisa Hines

Dr. Michelle A. Lyn, MD

Elena Marks

William C. Montgomery

Thomas Ortiz

Robert K. Reeves

George Roberts, Jr.

Deborah Brown Robinson

The Rev. Neil Alan Willard


Elena Marks
President and Chief Executive Officer

Jo Carcedo, MPA, MBA
Vice President for Grants

Alexandra (Lexi) Bambas Nolen, PhD, MPH
Vice President for Impact

Shao-Chee Sim, PhD, MPA
Vice President for Applied Research

Susybelle Gosslee
Chief Administrative Officer

Brian Sasser
Director of Communication



Robiel Abraha
Research Associate

Sheryl Barmasse
Research Coordinator

Jo Anne Brostrom
Executive Assistant to Elena Marks

Troy Bush-DiDonato
Community Engagement Officer

Katy Butterwick
Program Officer

Maryland Grier
Senior Community Engagement Officer

Jennifer Herrera
Program Officer

Brittany Kusay
Program Associate

Ruben Lanting
Grants Administrator

Suzanne Leahy, PhD
Director of Evaluation

Cindy Lucia
Program Officer

Lisa Madry
Congregational Engagement Officer

Jem Marshall
Executive Assistant (Impact)

Lisa Mendoza
Database Coordinator

Celene Meyer
Director of Grants Management

Jennifer Mineo, DrPH
Senior Health Researcher

Eric Moen
Congregational Engagement Officer

Bridget Samuel
Capacity Building Officer

Shona Sen
Community Centered Health Homes Project Manager

Laura Thewalt
Executive Assistant (Business and Communications)

Shirly Thomas
Foundation Fellow

Melodee Toles
Congregational Engagement Program Associate

Ian Watt
Evaluation Associate

Sandra Wegmann
Learning Officer