In order for any foundation to make an impact on large societal issues, it must focus on changing the dynamics of large systems. This is why focusing on specific priorities is essential. Without focus, foundations simply cannot make systemic change.
Each of the Endowment's four priorities, or themes, describes a critical unmet need that affects a significant number of people in New Hampshire. Our staff, Board and Advisory Council choose these themes based on community feedback and research. We believe these priorities reflect issues whose opportunity for change is now.
We generally remain active in a theme for five or more years. During that time, we develop and apply evaluation tools to measure the impact of our investment in each theme area.
The work within a theme comprises everything from research, data collection and analysis to public policy change and everything in between. Work related to our themes is most important. However, it by no means addresses our entire grantmaking portfolio. Non-theme work includes grants for planning projects, convenings and technical assistance as well as public policy improvement and applied research and data. We also invest resources in nonprofit and philanthropic best practices.
The resources a foundation can bring to an issue can make a difference – not only through financial investment, but also through lending voice and leadership and through leveraging of funds from other sources. The Endowment for Health typically funds organizations for activities and resources they normally couldn't afford to do on their own.