Grants Program

Grantmaking Strategy

HealthSpark Foundation will continue to evolve its grantmaking focus over the next decade with a goal of “Assuring a nimble, real-time, resilient quality health and human services safety net system” by sharpening its focus on a system change approach to address health disparities that hinder access and quality outcomes, and seeking opportunities to ensure the financial and organizational health of the safety net system.  

In 2018, the foundation adopted an updated strategic plan that will guide its work and grantmaking strategy through June 30, 2023. 

New Initiative

As part of its strategic plan, in 2018 the foundation launched its Safety Net Resiliency InitiativeWhile the foundation will continue its commitment to investing in systems change, the Safety Net Resiliency Initiative represents the primary focus of its work over the next decade. 

Theory of Change

Working to change systems and addressing complex problems requires a variety of strategies. The foundation has long employed and will continue to use a number of tools in order to improve systems and achieve its vision. These tools include:

  • Grantmaking
  • Network building
  • Convenings
  • Ongoing educational opportunities
  • Advocacy and public policy work
  • Research and data
  • Building public awareness


The foundation seeks to foster a learning environment for staff, its board and the community. Exploratory conversations, community meetings and grant requests often represent “teaching moments” as do final reports submitted by grantees.

The foundation occasionally conducts formal evaluations of its grantees’ work but most of its grantmaking relies upon a grantee’s self-evaluation framed by the foundation’s reporting format and lessons learned and shared. Both are highly valued by the foundation and formally reviewed by the staff. 

The foundation encourages its grantees to reflect upon the impact of the grant to their organization and the clients served. Thus the importance of applying thoughtful, analytic and self-reflective thinking by both the grantee and the foundation promotes ongoing learning.

What is Systems Change?

The process of altering or transforming how major parts of the safety net are linked, function and influence one another.