Health Care Delivery

Greater Rochester Health Foundation recognizes that in order to improve the community’s health, along with social determinants and personal responsibility, maintaining or achieving good health status requires an effective health care delivery system. Therefore, we support efforts that increase present and future affordability, accessibility and clinical quality of Greater Rochester’s high-quality health care system. Within this initiative, a variety of health care organizations have received funding, including health centers, hospitals, medical practices, and health-related organizations.

Neighborhood Health Status Improvement

Our daily lives and the neighborhoods we call home affect health in countless ways. In healthy neighborhoods, we feel safe walking outside, can access green space for recreation and physical activity, and we can purchase and eat healthy, affordable food. Healthy neighborhoods are free of abandoned housing which attracted crime and are now places with trusted neighbors who can rely upon and support each other.

Over the years the Health Foundation has supported grassroots and asset-based efforts to improve the physical, social and economic environments of neighborhoods and promote new opportunities for healthy living. Grantees and their partners have launched their health improvement projects and engaged neighborhood residents, completed an asset-based assessment of their community, and carried out large and small-scale projects in their neighborhoods. Grantees have also received support from the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University.


Prevention focuses on improving health and avoiding disease through the promotion of healthy living practices along with applying health interventions that help reduce of disease in the community. The Health Foundation funds prevention through its strategies in Childhood Healthy Weight and Lead Poisoning prevention, along with funding other community-based interventions through the Opportunity Grant process.

Childhood Healthy Weight

Initially, the Health Foundation began a community-wide childhood healthy weight initiative in 2007 to increase the prevalence of children at a healthy weight.  While the goal remains the same, in 2012 a revised strategy was approved by the Health Foundation’s board of directors, which included significant refinement of the initial approach. The geographic scope was narrowed to the city of Rochester as opposed to Monroe County, and the targeted age range was modified to 4- to 10-year-olds (originally 2- to 10-year-olds). The strategy includes four tactics:

  • Increase physical activity and improve nutrition in school, home, and community
  • Advance policy and practice solutions
  • Execute a community communications campaign
  • Engage the clinical community

General Prevention

Prevention is the science of improving health and avoiding disease through the promotion of healthy living practices along with applying health interventions that help reduce and eliminate the spread of disease in the community. The Health Foundation funds prevention through its strategies in Childhood Healthy Weight and Lead Poisoning prevention, along with funding other community-based interventions through the Opportunity Grant process.

What are your areas of focus?

In 2017, the Health Foundation developed an updated strategic plan – Healthy Futures: Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Children.

What areas do you serve?

We fund projects that can improve the health of the communities in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties.

How do organizations learn of grant opportunities?

Grants that are open to the general community are announced on our website and in our newsletters. For the organizations for which we have addresses, funding opportunities also are announced through email and direct mail. To receive announcements, please register now.

How do organizations apply for funding?

For grant opportunities that occur annually, referred to as Opportunity Grants, the Request for Proposals is typically announced in the spring. All prospective grantees are asked to submit a Letter of Intent. We offer conference calls for prospective grantees during which we provide an overview of the process and invite callers to ask questions. We use the Letters of Intent to determine the expertise needed on the external review panels that initially read and score all proposals. Submitting a Letter of Intent does not obligate an organization to submit a full proposal. Typically, proposals are due in September.

Childhood Healthy Weight grants are typically by invitation. Organizations that serve the target population and whose expertise is consistent with the area of focus are notified and invited to submit a proposal. Contact Director of Healthy Futures Heidi Burke directly if you have specific questions about funding.

Neighborhood Health Status Improvement grants become open periodically. (Check the home page for current funding opportunities.)  We offer informational forums to help organizations understand the Health Foundation’s philosophy on Neighborhood Health Status Improvement. 

Off-cycle requests for funding may be considered, depending upon the availability of funds and the merit of the proposed program.

How are grant proposals reviewed?

Proposals are reviewed using predetermined criteria, which may include the following:

  • Health issue being addressed
  • Scope of the issue in the context of the community’s health, the demographics, and number of people impacted by the health issue
  • What steps the program will take to enroll or engage the target population
  • Evidence or support that the proposed intervention will demonstrate impact
  • Potential challenges and how they will be addressed
  • How impact will be measured and evaluated
  • Milestones indicating progress against proposed outcomes
  • Detailed budget

Review panels evaluate all submissions using a scoring rubric. Next, the scoring rubrics are reviewed by our staff, who may invite organizations with highly rated proposals to discuss their proposed projects with us. Our staff then generates a list of recommended proposals for consideration by the program committee of our board of directors. As many organizations request funding for two or three years, the program committee considers the amount of money we anticipate will be available for grants in the upcoming years. The program committee then recommends proposals to the full board of directors, who ultimately approve what programs will be funded.

If a proposal is not initially accepted for funding, may the organization resubmit the proposal?

Yes, a new proposal may be submitted. However, it is in the best interest of the organization to address any issues that prevented it from being considered for funding originally. Talking with the senior program officer in charge of the specific area of focus can be invaluable in making your revised proposal more competitive.

What happens after a proposal is approved for funding?

When a proposal is conditionally approved for funding by the Health Foundation board, and before any funds are released, the prospective grantee and the Health Foundation sign a Grant Agreement outlining the measurable objectives and the frequency of required reporting.

Does the Health Foundation support the fundraising activities of nonprofits?

As our focus is on funding programs that are strategic in nature and for which there are measurable objectives. We also sponsor community events, which can be found here.

If an organization has an idea for a project, who should they contact?

We welcome the opportunity to speak with prospective grantees throughout the year about their ideas to improve the health of the community. These conversations are helpful to us in revealing community health issues and needs and can also help an organization determine if it is a good use of its resources to submit a Letter of Intent and a full proposal. Organizations are invited to speak with our executive staff or senior program officers at any time. For the staff directory, click here.

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John Urban, President and CEO;

Heidi F. Burke (Melancon), Director of Healthy Futures;

Sharon Legette-Sobers, Director of Responsive Grants;