Should The Denver Foundation continue to fund health care?

7 05 2010

In a previous post, I posed the question whether The Denver Foundation should continue to fund arts and cultural organizations.  Today, I ask whether The Denver Foundation should continue to fund health care organizations.

Of course, health care is important — that is not the issue.  The question is whether grants from The Denver Foundation can make a significant difference in the area of health care.

The health industry is a large and growing part of the U.S. economy.  Compared to the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on health care every year, grants from The Denver Foundation are literally a drop in the bucket.

In addition, there are four very large health conversion foundations in Colorado.  These foundations are legally required to dedicate all or much of their grant resources to health.  In this environment, it might be argued that The Denver Foundation should dedicate its resources elsewhere. 

On the other hand, it is hard to overstate the importance of health and its connections to the health of our society in general.  Children cannot learn unless they’re healthy.  The unemployed and untrained often cannot get jobs unless they are healthy.

Some years ago, Dr. Mary Pipher wrote a book about aging called Another Country.  In the book, Dr. Pipher distinguishes between “the old” and “the very old.”  From a societal perspective, the very old are much more of a burden on families and on public systems.  From an individual perspective, the difference between these groups is defined almost exclusively by health.  People can be “very old” and in their 50s if they are unhealthy.  Conversely, people can be in their 90s and not “very old” if they are healthy.  The significance of one’s health to one’s quality of life over the long term is paramount and cannot be overstated.

Because of this, I feel strongly that The Denver Foundation should continue to make grants in the area of health.  Despite the large amounts of government and foundation dollars directed toward health care and access to health care, huge gaps remain.  All of the health conversion foundations in Colorado have specific priorities and areas of focus.  There are many unfilled niches where The Denver Foundation can be helpful.

David Miller, President and CEO, The Denver Foundation

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One response

19 05 2010
Tanya Ishikawa

Definitely, please, I believe The Denver Foundation should continue to fund health care. In this stage in America’s development, there are still so many people who need the extra assistance to have better health, which makes our whole community healthier and wealthier. Bad health and illnesses can lead to such degradation in economic and mental conditions. We need to support everyone in maintaining and recovering good health.

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