This has been the most pivotal grant to our organization since I got here. It has enabled us to be in a space that we weren’t in before.

I heard this recently from our first advocacy grant partner, Health Care For All Massachusetts (HCFA). It highlights how a risk the Rx Foundation took in 2019 has had impact on the ground in communities across the U.S. With our funding, HCFA added a Health Justice Organizer to the team, who spent the last several years listening to and building relationships with community-based organizations across the state.

HCFA harnessed their expertise in systems-level thinking and policy to support the CBO’s priorities and bases of support, in effect amplifying those voices. And building on that groundwork, HCFA is now actively reducing barriers to COVID-19 vaccines in some of Massachusetts’ hardest hit communities.

In each state where we support partner organizations, we hope to see growth in the collective power of the advocacy ecosystem.

Building advocacy, organizing, and citizen-engagement capacity and infrastructure

With the support of more than $2 million in Rx Foundation grants to date, 16 organizations are building advocacy, organizing, and citizen-engagement capacity and infrastructure in 12 states. While these grants began before the pandemic, each partner played a critical role in their community during it; acting as trusted sources of information, and organizing to advocate for policies to ease hardships brought on by COVID-19.

In the first 18 years, the Rx Foundation made over $20 million in grants to support innovative leaders and projects, largely based within the health care delivery system. While many of those grants were impactful, we saw the limits of programmatic changes in broadly improving health care quality and access.

The Building Capacity for Health Advocacy program was a big shift and logical next step for a foundation established in 2002 by a family in Boston who had a national vision of “a prescription for better health care.”

In 2017, the foundation began engaging with and listening to experts on advocacy, community organizing and capacity building, both within and outside of philanthropy. What emerged from that process was a stated desire to foster greater capacity and infrastructure among advocates and organizations to champion issues that promote social justice through better health and health care.

Read the full article about pivoting to advocacy and organizing by Jennie Riley at Exponent Philanthropy.