Posted on January 3, 2017 by Tracy J. Yellen
Philanthropy can play a substantial role in the development of a healthy community.
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation was established 21 years ago from the sale of Providence Memorial Hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corporation for $130 million. This significant transaction established the Health Foundation as one of the largest private foundations on the U.S.-Mexico border with a central mission: to lead, leverage and invest in initiatives, programs and policies to promote health and prevent disease in the Paso del Norte region.
Since its inception, the Health Foundation has worked to improve health in our binational, tri-state region through notable initiatives like A Smoke Free Paso del Norte, which has seen smoking rates decline from 24 percent to nearly 13 percent in El Paso county; Walk El Paso Walk, which spawned walking groups throughout the region to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary life; Two Should Know, which promoted healthy sexuality and witnessed reductions in teen pregnancy; and CATCH, which recorded measurable improvements to elementary student health through targeted nutrition and physical education programs.
The foundation’s board of directors has spent the last few months developing a strategic plan to guide the foundation’s leadership and grantmaking over the next five years. At its core, the Strategic Plan 2021 affirms the ideals of our founders who were committed to health promotion and disease prevention and the preservation and growth of foundation assets.
The Strategic Plan 2021 continues investments in healthy eating and active living; tobacco prevention and alcohol control; mental health and emotional well-being; and health leadership including a recent leadership commitment to the new Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine.
New areas of focus include preventing and improving awareness and management of diabetes; planning and developing linear trails; nurturing healthy kids; and inspiring philanthropy in partnership with the Paso del Norte Charitable Foundation and Fundación Paso del Norte para la Salud y Bienestar in Juárez.
As the United States and Mexico see a remarkable transfer of wealth over this next generation, the charitable foundation and fundación are here to serve the philanthropic goals of individuals, corporations and foundations and support the needs of the region for generations to come.
The health foundation board and staff are committed to the values and guiding principles that are fundamental to ensure public trust, confidence, and engagement in the work that we do.
We seek to lead with integrity; collaborate with community leaders and stakeholders to achieve greater results; use data and empirical methods to guide our work; recognize and value different viewpoints, backgrounds, and life experiences; and manage the health foundation’s resources to ensure long-term sustainability and measurable impact keeping administrative expenses at or below 1 percent of foundation assets, which now exceed $220 million, while granting over $152 million to nonprofit organizations and institutions since our inception.
It is important to recognize that none of the health foundation’s work is done in isolation. It is the collective impact of so many that creates positive, measurable change, for which we are enormously grateful.
We look forward to working with community leaders and stakeholders over the next five years to ensure that the residents of the Paso del Norte region have the knowledge, resources, and environment needed to live healthy lives.
Tracy J. Yellen is CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and its affiliated foundations.
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