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July 07, 2021

Genesis Health System

BACKGROUND

The Genesis Health System is a multi-hospital system serving the Quad Cities region in Iowa and Illinois. Genesis Health Services Foundation (GHSF) engaged Changing Our World in a strategic planning effort for its work. An analysis of the directions of the health system and the interests of major philanthropists led Changing Our World to recommend that a shift in focus be created to align philanthropy with the health system’s growing emphasis on population health and regional expansion. Philanthropic strategy, then, would mirror health system growth.

CHALLENGE

The concept of Genesis Philanthropy (GP) was born: a shared entity among partner community hospital foundations that would focus on improving the health of the region by leveraging larger philanthropic funding than any of the individual foundations could raise on their own for local facilities. Changing Our World led a GHSF Task Force team through the strategic planning and institutional design processes for creating GP, which included quantitative research on the region and qualitative research on philanthropic attitudes. Interviews, peer analysis and survey analysis informed the development of the foundation vision, mission and structure. Market research tested the viability of the GP mission and operational design for attracting funding.

SOLUTION

Before the first Board of GP was even seated, a $1 million gift was pledged to fund lung cancer screening in the entire GHS region. This initial effort focused on lung cancer, for which the region has some of the highest incidence and death rates in the nation; is reaching four community areas within the Genesis Health catchment area; and Genesis hospitals are partnering with nonprofits as diverse as chambers of commerce, rural libraries and major manufacturing employers. In 2015, based on an assessment of the results of the preventive health work of Genesis Philanthropy in the region, Genesis Health Services decided to place 3.5 percent of its annual profits into Genesis Philanthropy for continued grantmaking.

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