Jefferson Regional Foundation is a grantmaking foundation dedicated to investing in the health and vitality of the communities served by Jefferson Hospital in the South Hills and lower Mon Valley of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In March 2013, Jefferson Hospital became affiliated with the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) through an agreement with Highmark Inc. and AHN. As a part of that agreement, Jefferson Regional Foundation (JRF) received $75 million to support the Jefferson Hospital mission through engaging in grantmaking, education and outreach which improves the health and well-being of residents in its service area. The Foundation’s intention is to have long-term impact in the area. In addition to investing annually in the community through grantmaking and other education or outreach initiatives, Jefferson Regional Foundation invests and preserves the fund so it is available for the long-term benefit of the community. JRF is a supporting organization of Jefferson Hospital rather than a private foundation.
The majority of the Foundation’s Board members live in or are natives of the Jefferson service area, and a number have served on the Jefferson Hospital Board. The Foundation Board also benefits from the expertise of several Highmark representatives. The Executive Director was hired as the first staff member of the Foundation in November 2013, and over the next year the staff was expanded to include an Executive Assistant and a Program Officer. JRF does not intend to participate in fundraising activities, which have now been assumed by Allegheny Health Network.
During 2014, the Foundation Board engaged in a strategic planning process which resulted in the development of a revised structure, principles and its initial grant guidelines. The Foundation relied on the Jefferson Hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment (2012) as a core source of community health information, while gathering additional data through focus groups, interviews and other sources. While the Foundation reached out broadly to community leaders and groups to identify community assets, it also took advantage of early opportunities to partner with other funders to selectively award a small number of grants in 2014. The Foundation began engagement in a full cycle of grantmaking in 2015 to implement its mission and grantmaking priorities.