1997 - 2020

Our Story

Since 1997, Philadelphia Health Partnership (formerly known as First Hospital Foundation) has supported nonprofit organizations that address the health needs of the most vulnerable and underserved people in the Philadelphia area. We have invested over $26.6 million in 168 nonprofits. Our history is deep and strong.


In October 1997, the First Hospital Foundation was established as part of the merger between the Pennsylvania Hospital and the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania to perpetuate the original mission of the Pennsylvania Hospital as set forth in 1751: “to care for the sick-poor and insane who wander the streets of Philadelphia." The First Hospital Foundation’s major purpose was to help meet the health needs of the poor and underserved in the community served by the Pennsylvania Hospital. The Foundation’s secondary purpose was to support the preservation of the historic artifacts and memorials of Pennsylvania Hospital.


The First Hospital Foundation’s mission was further refined: “to support nonprofit organizations whose programs address the health needs of the most vulnerable and underserved populations in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Bucks counties." The Foundation awarded its first grants in 1999 to 12 nonprofit organizations, totaling $600,000, whose work addressed various health issues: access to health care by the uninsured and underinsured; behavioral health needs, particularly those of children and families; perinatal health care; services to children at risk; and populations with special needs.


As of 2005, the First Hospital Foundation had awarded over $5 million in grants to 60 nonprofit organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Region since its inception.


The Foundation launched a funding strategy focused on the integration of behavioral health in primary care settings. The inaugural grant was awarded to Family Practice and Counseling Network’s 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University for the development of the Primary Care Behavioral Health Model of Care for Children and Families.


Ann Marie Healy was hired as the Foundation's first executive director in April 2007.


The Foundation engaged in a strategic planning process to review and reflect upon the first decade of its grantmaking. The comprehensive assessment focused on understanding how the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy aligned with its mission; how policies were carried out; and how grant requests were deliberated, distributed, and evaluated. As a result of the planning process, the Foundation affirmed its mission and developed vision and value statements to guide future grantmaking and refine its grantmaking process.


After 12 years of leading the First Hospital Foundation, Joanne R. Denworth stepped down, and Louis J. Mayer was elected board chair.


The Foundation increased its investment in health care services to immigrants. The inaugural grant supported the partnership between Puentes de Salud and Pennsylvania Hospital, Department of Ob/Gyn for the Latina Community Health project in South Philadelphia.


First Hospital Foundation launched new funding priorities: improvement of access to health care by the underserved including the uninsured and underinsured; meeting behavioral health needs; promoting the health and well-being of children and families; education, training, and advocacy to improve health care outcomes; public health risk reduction; and development of replicable, innovative approaches to health care delivery. The new focus was accompanied by a decision to offer general operating support.


The Foundation launched a funding strategy focused on Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs) in Philadelphia. The MLP model integrates legal assistance into medical settings as a component of patient care. The Foundation awarded its first grant to Legal Clinic for the Disabled for the expansion of its MLP to Saint Christopher’s Hospital for Children. As of 2018, the Foundation had invested $930,000 in MLP models through grants to Community Legal Services, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, Justice at Work (formerly Friends of Farmworkers), and Legal Clinic for the Disabled.


The Foundation launched a multi-year strategic planning process to assess our mission and grantmaking priorities and strategies.


The Foundation introduces its new name - Philadelphia Health Partnership; a refined mission, vision, and guiding principles; new strategic initiatives; and a new website.

Our Name