The sizeable community impact fund provides IU Health with the ability to make impactful investments, but it does not explicitly tell the organization where to make those investments. IU Health Foundation needed a mechanism to source projects that aligned with systemwide goals, advanced local needs, and held the promise of additional donor investment.
To discover these opportunities, IU Health Foundation administers an internal application process in which system employees nominate projects—and external partners—for funding. This process ensures that funds are initially granted internally to IU Health business units, and then sub-granted to community partners.
The employee nomination is important for several reasons. First, it provides an initial validation of the potential partner’s ability to execute a strategy with IU Health. Second, it establishes the employee as an accountability partner and an advocate for the partner’s contribution to the program, should it receive funding.
To source potential investment opportunities, the foundation casts a wide net for proposals by opening the grant application process through an internal, system-wide employee notification. Individual business unit leaders and regional leaders are typically involved in the most successful funding requests.
The IU Health Foundation performs an initial sort of submissions to identify programs most in line with IU Health’s community health objectives. Employee submissions that are aligned with system objectives have the opportunity to move on to further review.
Un-nominated external submissions
Occasionally, external organizations express interest in grant funding but are missing the employee nomination requirement. After the foundation carefully explains the employee nomination prerequisite, it will hold an introductory call with the organization. The foundation will try to better understand the scope of the request and attempt to match the organization with internal leaders for a potential funding nomination.