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In 2023, we celebrated Philadelphia Health Partnership’s 25 years of history. Since our establishment in 1997, we have partnered with local community-based organizations working to increase access to quality, equitable care and services and address economic and social drivers of health. Today, our grantmaking and advocacy focuses on achieving greater equity in health and racial justice with a special interest in children’s health and development at every stage in the early years of growth including perinatal care. Learn more about our history and anniversary events.


The Beginning
The Beginning

In October 1997, the First Hospital Foundation is established as part of the merger between Pennsylvania Hospital and the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. Our charge is to perpetuate the Good Samaritan mission of Pennsylvania Hospital as set forth in 1751. Our secondary purpose is to support the preservation of historic artifacts and memorials at Pennsylvania Hospital.

During our first years of operation, the foundation’s mission is to support nonprofits whose programs and services address the health and well-being of the most vulnerable and underserved populations in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks counties.

First Grants
First Grants

In 1999, we award our first grants totaling $600,000 to 12 nonprofit organizations. Advancing health equity is at the core of our grantmaking. In the decade that follows, our grantmaking aims to:

  • Improve access to quality health care and behavioral health services by the uninsured, under-insured, and medically underserved;
  • Reduce public health risks;
  • Promote the health and well-being of children and families, particularly perinatal care;
  • Provide supports for children at risk and populations with special needs;
  • Educate, train, and advocate for improved healthcare outcomes;
  • Develop replicable, innovative approaches to healthcare delivery.

We bring people, organizations, and resources together in the five-county metropolitan region, particularly in Philadelphia, to advance knowledge in the field and to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of those in need.

Social and Economic Drivers
Social and Economic Drivers

Our grantmaking evolves to address social and economic drivers of health in addition to increasing direct connection to care. We support programs to prevent and respond to intimate partner and family violence and to increase access to healthy food. We launch a strategy focused on integration of behavioral health services in primary care.

In 2009, we surpass $10 million in grants awarded.

Grantmaking in action includes:

  • Family Practice and Counseling Network’s 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University’s development of Primary Care Behavioral Health model of care for children and families;
  • MANNA’s launch of the “Food is Medicine” research project to demonstrate the effectiveness of their home-delivered meal and counseling program at lowering health care costs and improving individual health outcomes;
  • Women Against Abuse’s establishment of behavioral health services in emergency and transitional housing.


We foster partnerships, including between health providers and community-based organizations, to advance health equity.

In 2009, the Puentes de Salud health clinic is launched in South Philadelphia with the Latina Community Health project of Pennsylvania Hospital’s Ob/Gyn Department to provide free health care to immigrant families. To support this collaboration, we invest nearly $850,000 over eight years.

In 2011, we award our first Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) grant to Legal Clinic for the Disabled (LCD) to provide legal services at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. As of 2022, we have invested nearly $1.7 million in MLP programs with LCD, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, Community Legal Services, and Justice at Work.

In 2011, we also launch a seven-year investment to help meet the unmet vision needs of thousands of children in Philadelphia by supporting Give Kids Sight Day, a collaborative effort of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (now Children First), Wills Eye Institute, Eagles Charitable Foundation, and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, among others.


We collaborate with community-based organizations that focus on policy, systems, and structural change. We support organizations like Pennsylvania Health Access Network and Children First to advocate and organize for issues like access to health insurance and public benefits, safe and healthy housing conditions, and childhood lead poisoning prevention.

In 2016, we launch a four-year project to support community members to navigate Pennsylvania’s transition to mandatory managed care for long-term services and support through Community HealthChoices. In 2017, we develop a Rapid Response grants process to support nonprofits responding to time-sensitive challenges including policy and system changes.

Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning

Almost two decades after the foundation’s creation, our Board engages in a strategic planning process to adapt to the changing health care environment and focus our resources to have the greatest impact. We agree that the complex and interrelated issues facing individuals, families, and communities can only be addressed through a long-term effort, significant grant awards, and sustained investment.

In 2018, we introduce our new name as Philadelphia Health Partnership. We define Philadelphia as our primary geographic area of focus and share a refined vision, mission, and guiding principles that will inform strategic initiatives on early childhood health and development and equity in health.

After 19 years and $4.0 million in grants to support the preservation of the historical artifacts and memorials at Pennsylvania Hospital, the foundation establishes a Pennsylvania Hospital Artifacts Endowment at the University of Pennsylvania to sustain this aspect of our founding mission.

Early Childhood Health and Development
Early Childhood Health and Development

Our early childhood strategic initiative is established to promote the health and development of children from prenatal to age five as a building block for lifelong well-being. We fund programs and partnerships focused on supporting positive relationships and early experiences that set children on the pathway to thrive.

Our initiative builds on our long-term history of support for local maternal and child health organizations like Maternity Care Coalition. New grantee partners include ParentChild+, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia PolicyLab, and Education Law Center. In 2020, we make a three-year early childhood grant to expand the Attachment Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) program in the Philadelphia Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program.

Equity in Health
Equity in Health

We develop our equity in health strategic initiative to drive progress on our belief that attaining optimal physical, mental, and social well-being across the lifespan is a human right. We expand support for immigrant- and refugee- serving organizations that provide health access, navigation, and case management services including African Family Health Organization, La Puerta Abierta, Nationalities Service Center, and SEAMAAC.

In 2020, we award $549,000 in rapid response grants to community-based organizations addressing COVID-19’s health and economic impacts. We sharpen our focus on the disparities revealed and exacerbated by the pandemic including advancing racial justice: supporting equitable opportunities and outcomes for individuals and groups impacted by structural racism and historic injustice and colonialism.

Future Directions
Future Directions

In 2022, we launch our Nurture, Connect, Advocate, Lead framework to communicate our grantmaking and advocacy priorities. We also award multi-year grants to support two new early childhood partnerships:

  • A HealthySteps pilot at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to integrate early childhood development and parenting/caregiving supports in pediatric primary care;
  • Design and implementation of a parent- and caregiver-led grantmaking process by Bread & Roses Community Fund to resource early childhood organizing, advocacy, and community action projects.

As we enter 2023, we are poised to expand support for perinatal health and well-being and to develop new opportunities to promote racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the health and human services sectors.


Not only does PHP have a forward-thinking approach to philanthropy that relies on trust and mutual respect; they serve as a true thought partner as we work through projects, advocacy strategies, and measurement of our impact.

— Pennsylvania Health Access Network

This has been less of a funder-grantee relationship and more of partners working together to achieve the same goal, which leads to transparency and intentionality.  Their understanding and flexibility have been so helpful for a growing community-based organization.

— African Family Health Organization

In addition to providing critical financial support, PHP leadership is on the front lines advocating for change that will have a true impact on health equity. In essence – “they walk the walk.”

— Legal Clinic for the Disabled

We are proud to join PHP in moving money to advance racial justice and health equity and in elevating the voices and leadership of the people and communities who have the most at stake.

— Bread & Roses Community Fund

We appreciate that PHP doesn’t shy away from challenges and trusts us to do what we do best including supporting our advocacy efforts to expand health care access to undocumented children and end the risk of childhood lead poisoning.

— Children First

As a partner, PHP has consistently encouraged us to think about what we are learning and how we can apply this information to better serve our clients. It’s always been about more than the numbers.

— Community Legal Services

PHP’s support allows us to advance the rights of our youngest learners to ensure that they are able to develop a foundation for lifelong learning and health.

— Education Law Center

PHP has supported us to make connections with other resources that have helped us improve and expand our work with community members who are too often left out of mainstream supports.

— La Puerta Abierta

PHP’s approach to funding has been highly commendable. They are apprised of the community needs and work with us closely to ensure that we have what we need to serve our community.

— HUNE (Hispanos Unidos para Niños Excepcionales)

PHP’s support makes it possible for our team to advocate on behalf of patients to address social determinants of health. Health inequities will persist unless our clients have access to benefits, housing, income support, and family stability.

— Philadelphia Legal Assistance

A 2018 Celebration to Launch Philadelphia Health Partnership

After 20 years of supporting nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia Region, we took a moment on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the launch of our new name and priorities as Philadelphia Health Partnership.

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