The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Strategic Plan

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1 The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Strategic Plan

2 Strategic Plan: Our Vision: A region where all families have access to fresh, affordable, and, as often as possible, local food as a first requirement for good health. Background: Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve by providing the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $130 million in funds. In 2013, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded $2.8 million in grants to 700 nonprofit organizations throughout the four states. In 2007, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, in partnership with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, launched Growing Up Healthy - a regional and defining initiative to combat childhood obesity. The focus was to change school and afterschool environments, where children ages 6 12 spend the majority of their time, in order to make them healthier in terms of nutrition and physical activity. The strategy was one that aligned well with our resources and reach: to provide the best evidence-based tools and training to people working directly with children that enable them to make healthier changes in incremental and consistent steps. The results of the first five years of this work are documented in our report: Gaining Traction. What began as a five-year program stretched into eight taking two promising tools and training efforts to scale across the region. (Let s Go! Healthcare and Healthy Kids Out of School). Approaching the end of this chapter of our obesity prevention work, the Foundation s Board and staff decided to review what had been accomplished in order to determine what the next direction for our work might be. We were pleased to learn that things had changed substantially and are still evolving in the region s schools and afterschool programs. Teachers, administrators and nutrition directors, as well as staff of out-of-school programs, now know what needs to be done and are getting started. While the work to make these environments places where the healthy options are the only options is not finished, it is well underway. So it seemed like a good time for the Foundation to consider how to build on this very strong beginning. At the same time, the concurrent changes in health care, as well as Harvard 1

3 Pilgrim Health Care s expansion and diversification, also supported a review of our focus and strategy. The Planning Process In 2014, the Foundation s board and staff began a strategic planning process that culminated with this plan. First, we looked at our ongoing evaluations of our past grants and programs provided by faculty at the Center for Social Policy at University of Massachusetts Boston. Then, we reviewed regional needs from recent community and state level health data. Our strategic planning consultant refined this information by inviting input on the future direction of the Foundation via conversations with our Board members, Harvard Pilgrim senior staff, and approximately 40 stakeholders and experts from throughout the region including health and policy leaders, and Harvard Pilgrim s business partners. In addition, we examined the approaches of our peer health foundations to see where we might add capacity and value. It was a deep and extensive process that gave us some very valuable insights. We learned that: While the Foundation has a solid leadership position on the issue of preventing childhood obesity, room for further development of its current strategies was limited; In the area of community prevention and the social determinants of health, fresh and healthy food has become an important focus for the next phase of preventing obesity and related chronic diseases; Issues of health disparities and equity are now seen as more directly connected to community factors again, the social determinants of health rather than to the skills and procedures of providers; Issues of healthy and productive/active aging are also being seen as community based and determined by comprehensive local planning, as opposed to simply the availability of medical and social services; Regular opportunities for engagement in giving and service at work is a defining requirement of inclusive and successful workplaces, and that Harvard Pilgrim s program is a regional leader and differentiator; Regional leaders are looking to foundations like Harvard Pilgrim s to convene on its target issues; 2

4 Organizations active in the Foundation s proposed target areas would welcome a regional corporate health foundation as a partner in their state specific efforts; and that finally, Given Harvard Pilgrim s limited resources to improve health and effect change across the region, it would be imperative to focus its efforts on one key issue and implement its priority strategies in a limited number of places over several years. Finally, all of this information was reviewed and discussed by the Foundation s Board and senior staff at a day-long retreat which produced consensus on the Foundation s general direction. At this retreat, the group agreed on the Foundation s overarching goals for the coming three years: Maximize and measure the Foundation s impact on the health of Harvard Pilgrim s region and stakeholders including communities, markets, partners, members, and employees; Align our efforts with Harvard Pilgrim s corporate strategy; Ensure visibility for the work we do and results we achieve to inform our field and stakeholders. Building on the Foundation s leadership and successes over the past eight years with its programs in preventing childhood obesity, engaging Harvard Pilgrim employees in service and giving, and addressing health disparities, the Foundation s Board has adopted a new, three-year strategic plan that has a singular overall focus: To increase access to fresh, healthy food for families and communities in all of Harvard Pilgrim s five markets across the region. This focus strongly aligns with Harvard Pilgrim s mission to improve the health of all people in its region. It allows us to contribute to important efforts in local communities at a level that can produce results that matter. Also, it supports Harvard Pilgrim s business strategies, particularly market and regional growth, entry into the over-65 market, member and employee wellness, provider partnerships, and Inclusion. 3

5 Why Food? You are what you eat. We ve all heard that phrase before. And as the Foundation has tackled childhood obesity in our region during the past eight years, it continues to ring true. Too many children and their families don t have access to fresh, healthy food, and that has contributed to the obesity epidemic in our cities, our towns and our nation. (please refer to PolicyLink s report Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters) As an employer and insurer, Harvard Pilgrim has become a big believer in improving the food our employees and our members eat. There are organic gardens at some of our facilities, healthy eating options in our cafeterias, and some of us even have farm shares delivered to our workplace. In addition, many of Harvard Pilgrim s wellness programs focus on better eating. This fall, the Eat Right Rewards program debuted for Harvard Pilgrim staff and members rewarding them for buying healthier items at the grocery store. In short, we have become more aware of the power and importance of healthy eating. Still, in too many places in our region fresh food isn t easy to come by. It s expensive and for a lot of families, cooking fresh food is still a mystery. Our eight-year Growing up Healthy initiative taught us what works to help children eat better and move more. We are now taking an opportunity to build on what we have learned by helping families and communities be healthier starting with what they eat. The Program Our focus to increase access to healthy, fresh food for families and communities will have several components. These include: A new, signature program of grants and initiatives to improve and expand access to fresh, healthy food, particularly produce, for low- and moderate-income families; An expanded Employee Service and Giving program to better support Harvard Pilgrim s changing workforce, as well as to connect Harvard Pilgrim staff to the focus on fresh food; A new initiative to support Harvard Pilgrim s Inclusion/Health Equity efforts that will replace the current Culture InSight program; An independent evaluation of all Foundation activities to produce a dashboard of quantitative information that tracks progress on our goal; 4

6 An expanded visibility and convening program to inform our constituencies on our progress, as well as connect food programs and leaders throughout the region to share strategies and expertise. Specific Grants and Initiatives Details and guidelines for new grants and initiatives will be created in early 2015 and will be posted on the Foundation s website at Our grant programs and initiatives include: A regional replication of the Foundation s signature Veggie Mobile Initiative in partnership with a local hospital or health system; The Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund, with more than $1.5 million in funding, will provide three-year competitive grants in selected communities in all 5 of Harvard Pilgrim s markets: Central/Western Mass., Connecticut, Greater Boston, New Hampshire and Maine that will support one or two priority strategies to increase access to fresh and/or local produce; A competitive grants program to support active and productive aging that will debut in 2016; A renewed and expanded Harvard Pilgrim Employee Service and Giving program that includes new service options for employees working remotely, a revised regional employee recognition program, and new opportunities for skill-based volunteering; Continuation of the annual 9/11 Community Spirit Mini Grants program ($500 per grant) for Harvard Pilgrim staff that includes incentives to award grants to local fresh food programs; and A new initiative to address health disparities that will replace the current Culture InSight program and debut in 2016; Conclusion The Foundation s Board and staff are confident that this plan meets the Foundation s and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care s goals for the responsible and impactful use of its resources. While it is ambitious, it is feasible over the next three years via a careful phasing-in of key components. Most importantly, it defines an opportunity in the area of population health where the Foundation s particular resources can have an impact that 5

7 matters. However, it is not without risk. No plan to create change that works with the nonprofit sector -- particularly an emerging one like community level fresh food access - is challenge free. Yet, we recognize that part of the value of goal-setting and measurement comes from learning what doesn t work. We will adjust strategies that are not successful and communicate what we learn. As we did in 2007, we are committed to putting our philanthropy behind the most promising solutions with the most dedicated local partners and to use our corporate platform to bring new allies into our effort. We look forward to the feedback, ideas and counsel of our Harvard Pilgrim colleagues, our grantees and everyone in our region who works to connect food with health. 6

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