Episcopal Health Foundation has received a $20 million investment from national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott that will further the foundation’s important work to improve health, not just health care in Texas. The one-time, unrestricted gift will be used to maximize the impact of EHF’s ongoing grantmaking, research, and community engagement programs.
From its creation in 2013, Episcopal Health Foundation has changed the conversation on how Texas approaches health. While medical care makes up about 20% of what determines a person’s overall health, the remainder is determined by non-medical factors like income, diet, exercise, health behaviors, family support, housing conditions, environmental factors, and more. Yet, well over 90% of the overall health spending in the U.S. goes to medical care. At the same time, our health outcomes fall behind most every other wealthy country in the world.
“We’ve continually looked for tools outside medical care that actually deliver health to show that they can make a big impact,” Marks said. “But until the health system changes what it pays for and shifts dollars upstream, we’ll continue to get the same health outcomes, especially for those most in need.”
That’s why EHF not only works to make health care more affordable and accessible, but also provides funding and other support to help organizations find preventive solutions that address the non-medical, root causes of poor health. To date, EHF has invested more than $450 million in grants, research projects, community and congregational engagement efforts, impact investing, and more.
“We had a unique opportunity at EHF to do something that’s different and transformative from the beginning. This meaningful donation is more evidence of the importance of being a different kind of philanthropy focused on upstream, transformational change,” said Linnet Deily, EHF’s executive board chair.
EHF leaders say they not only admire Scott’s unparalleled generosity in Texas and across the country, but they also share her continued commitment to ensure that people struggling against inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions.
“This gift recognizes our central commitment to raise community voices so those most affected by inequalities can determine the best ways to take charge of their own health,” said Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, the ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and chair of EHF’s board of directors. “At the same time, we’ve helped more than 100 Episcopal congregations organize and focus their efforts to have the greatest impact on their communities’ health. Together, it’s a commitment to making sure that under-resourced communities are at the center stage for change.”