Imperial County Focus of Proposed Health and Wellness Fund

Thursday, July 19, 2018 General News
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Proposed $25 million fund would be underwritten with a $7.5 million challenge grant from the Alliance Healthcare Foundation

EL CENTRO, Calif., July 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a San

Diego-based philanthropy organization working to advance health and wellness for those in need in San Diego and Imperial counties, released today a Request for Interest (RFI) to solicit input and ideas for the establishment of a $25 million health and wellness fund in Imperial County, Calif.

AHF has reserved $7.5 million until Dec. 31, 2019, for a potential matching grant that would be provided once $17.5 million is raised from other sources. The purpose of this RFI is to stimulate and assess interest in the fund and to gather information that will be useful in finalizing the details of a Request for Proposal (RFP) that AHF expects to release later this year. Through this process, AHF also hopes to stimulate interest in potential monetary contributions to the fund from donors in other parts of the state and country.

Responses to the RFI must be submitted by noon (PDT), Aug. 13, 2018.

With this Request for Interest (RFI), AHF invites Imperial County residents; community, business and civic leaders; foundation partners; and other interested parties to describe a proposed process, structure, timeline and related considerations that will help achieve AHF's vision for a locally controlled wellness fund in Imperial County. AHF's vision is that an Imperial County Wellness Fund (IWF) will be governed and administered in a way that provides Imperial County with an enduring source of funding to advance the health and wellness of the region.

"Since its founding, AHF has worked with nonprofit, government and community leaders in both San Diego and Imperial counties to improve the health and wellness of vulnerable populations — the poor, working poor, children, elderly, homeless and others — by providing grants and impact investments to organizations serving these groups," noted Elizabeth Dreicer, AHF's interim executive director. "Recognizing that the needs and conditions of Imperial County are substantial and different from those of San Diego County, AHF believes that Imperial County benefits by having a locally controlled and larger pool of funds. Importantly, through this challenge grant, we are seeking to substantively 'grow the pie' of funds available in the county."

According to Joe Ramsdell, MD, AHF's interim board chair, "Imperial County plays a critically important role in providing our state with food and, more recently, clean energy. With this challenge grant we are demonstrating our faith and trust in those closest to the community as a means to achieve greater impact in support of our mission to advance the health and wellness of those in need in Imperial County."

Included in the terms for establishing the proposed fund, AHF stipulates that the new fund must be domiciled in Imperial County and must have a mission dedicated exclusively and irrevocably to improving the health and wellness of vulnerable populations in Imperial County.

According to Alex Cardenas, executive director of CASA of Imperial County and incoming director of the Imperial Irrigation District, "Our county is resource- and energy-rich. We are home to one of the nation's largest solar operations, and we have one of the largest geothermal and lithium deposits in the U.S. But we are also living with the aftermath of years of runoff into the man-made Salton Sea that threatens the health of our communities. We can have healthy families and a strong economy through thoughtful and sensible collective action. The opportunity of establishing a $25 million health and wellness fund for Imperial County doesn't come along very often. I call on everyone to respond to Alliance Healthcare Foundation's challenge by putting forth your best ideas for making the health and wellness fund a reality."

"A $25 million fund such as this could be a game changer for Imperial County," said Helina Hoyt, coordinator of the RN to BS in Nursing Program for San Diego State University-Imperial Valley. "It would strengthen the ability of nonprofits across the valley to meet the unique and substantial health needs of our region."

"We welcome Alliance Healthcare Foundation's historical and continued interest in Imperial County and recognize the benefits of having a locally operated and locally controlled fund for our communities," said Yvonne Bell, chief executive officer of Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo. "I encourage all interested parties to respond to this RFI to assist AHF as they work to establish this landmark fund for improving health and well-being."

"As a business owner and resident of the Imperial Valley for over 20 years, AHF's inspired new fund would be a welcome addition to our community," said Anne Irigoyen, vice president of Ametza, LLC. "Being involved is the key to the health and wellness of our valley. Welcoming a new wellness fund would enhance our ability to maintain a healthy environment for our citizens. We are in an area with a high percentage of needs, including homelessness, and need all the help we can [get] to help those in need in our community."

According to Victor Nava, vice president and branch manager of the El Centro Branch for Rabobank, "It's exciting having a community partner that will have an impact on wellness for the poor and those that are most vulnerable. The business community and the areas we serve will positively evolve with everyone's efforts and contributions. Looking forward to the collaboration."

"The Imperial Valley Community Foundation is thrilled to hear about the $25 million wellness fund that Alliance Healthcare Foundation is looking to set up in Imperial County," said Bobby Brock, president and CEO of the Imperial Valley Community Foundation. "This is a real game-changer that has the potential to dramatically improve the health and wellness of our community. Imperial County has historically been overlooked by philanthropy and impact investors; yet, such a significant investment from Alliance Healthcare Foundation — particularly as they are looking for broad community participation at the inception — will go a long way to put our region on the map and invite additional investments in our community."

Responses to this RFI must be submitted by noon (PDT), Aug. 13, 2018. Submit responses to:

About Alliance Healthcare Foundation: Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a San Diego-based foundation that works with nonprofit, social enterprises, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness of the most vulnerable in San Diego and Imperial counties — the poor, working poor, children, elderly and the homeless — by providing grants, impact investments, collaboration, advocacy and education. 

AHF envisions a San Diego and Imperial County region where equitable health resources lead to universal health and well-being. AHF believes all people have a desire to be well. Wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, economic and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Wellness is personal and is not the same for everyone. Individuals need information and support to make positive choices for a more successful existence.

AHF currently operates a portfolio of five programs: i2 is our innovation initiative, also referred to as "venture philanthropy" — based on the thesis that innovation capital (often high risk, high reward) is needed to transform the current paradigm (high cost and poor outcomes) and improve quality, increase capacity and reduce costs; Mission Support — based on the belief that trusting those closest to our constituents and providing core operating support for great organizations will best advance our mission; Responsive Grants — based on the belief that it is important to be responsive to time-sensitive community needs and opportunities; InvestUp — based on the belief that it is important to actively and strategically be looking for ways to meaningfully advance our mission and that it is worth spending some or all of our corpus — beyond the earnings off of our endowment — if we can substantively and with sustainability positively change the dynamics; and, Program Related Investment — also referred to as "impact investment," based on the thesis that we can activate our investment portfolio to achieve more positive impact.

For more information visit

AHF can also be found on Twitter @AllianceHF and on Facebook at


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