Frequently asked questions about the Foundation’s strategic grantmaking

During 2018, the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation Board of Directors and its staff completed a strategic planning process that resulted in refinements to the foundation’s grant making and funding approach.

Two of the foundation’s four funding priorities, Increase Access to Children’s Health Insurance Coverage and Prevent and Reduce Childhood Trauma are now funded through strategic grantmaking instead of responsive grantmaking.

This FAQ is designed to provide information about this new development.

What is strategic grantmaking?

A strategic grantmaking approach means that grant-funded projects will be initiated by the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation. The Foundation may conceptualize a project, with input from the field, and then identify organizations whose knowledge and experience qualify them to pursue and accomplish it.

Our intention in moving to strategic grantmaking is to create true systemic change. Projects will begin with baseline research and include ongoing project evaluation.

How does strategic grantmaking differ from responsive grantmaking?

Under our traditional responsive grantmaking model, organizations applied for grant funding in one of our five priority areas, individual grant proposals were reviewed, and funding was awarded to projects which were deemed sound.

Under our new strategic grantmaking model, the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation will take a pro-active role in identifying projects and developing partnerships designed to address the two priority areas.

Strategic grantmaking will not be implemented through an open call for proposal process. Grants will be awarded on a schedule that coincides with the Foundation’s readiness to implement, and the Foundation may partner with other funders to accomplish its project objectives.

Why did the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation move to strategic grantmaking for these two priority areas?

While our staff and board were confident about funding decisions to support projects and initiatives funded through our traditional responsive grantmaking model, we were unable to determine if the Foundation’s funding has truly made a systemic or lasting impact on the children’s health issues that funding was intended to address.

The reason our board selected these two funding priorities for strategic grantmaking is that we believe we have a significant opportunity to build on existing partnerships (or create new ones) and to capitalize on momentum in these fields.

Do you have any specific projects in mind?

Yes. To prevent and reduce childhood trauma we anticipate implementing the following three-part strategy.

  1. Prevention. This component will include increasing delivery of home visiting services for high-risk young mothers and their children; and reduce unintended pregnancy by improving access to long-acting reversible contraception for women up to age 24.
  2. Early intervention. This component will include scaling up the training of mental health professionals in the treatment of young children with multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs); and scaling up the training of health care providers and community based resources likely to encounter or provide support for children at risk for Adverse Childhood Experiences.
  3. Increase Access to Children’s Health Insurance Coverage. This component will be focused on enrolling uninsured children in the appropriate health insurance programs, and ensuring that the mental health services needed to prevent and reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences are adequately covered.

The anticipated long-term outcome of strategic grantmaking for these strategies will be a gradual reduction in the number of New Hampshire children with multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences.

What are your criteria for funding initiatives in the three-part strategy outlined above?

  • That it be relevant to reducing children’s exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences.
  • To seek out funding partners to enhance our resources.
  • To leverage existing opportunities when possible.
  • That there be demonstrated evidence of community engagement.
  • To support activity that results in policy, system, or environmental change.
  • That our work and investment be research informed.
  • To expand evidence-based strategies, when appropriate.

Have you targeted specific geographic locations?

Yes. In addition to some work that will be statewide, other efforts will initially focus in four focal communities – Nashua, Manchester, Claremont and Coos County. These locations were selected based on research presented in “Advancing Investments in the Early Years – Opportunities for Strategic Investments in Evidence-Based Early Childhood Programs in New Hampshire” (RAND Corporation, 2019).

Have you identified strategic partners?

These are still to be determined. We anticipate working with experienced organizations like public health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Community Health Centers, home visiting agencies, human service organizations, law enforcement agencies and potentially, other funders.

Our first steps in 2019 will primarily be to conduct research to inform our work going forward.

For example, we intend to collect data related to home visiting in the four focal communities and to assess the capacity of Community Health Centers to improve education and access to long acting reversible contraception to reduce unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

We also plan to research the expected return on investment for early childhood mental health enhanced insurance benefits.

How could our organization get involved?

The New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation will be reaching out to many stakeholders during 2019 as we collect data and assesses capacity, particularly in our four focal communities.

If you believe that your organization should be part of this initial capacity assessment you are welcome to contact New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation Program Director Patti Baum at (603) 229-3260 x12; or via email [email protected].

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Revised 1/5/22