Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees Approves $1,518,000 in Grants

Updated on December 6, 2016

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) Board of Trustees approved $1,518,000 in grants, including grants to design and create a virtual museum to the future of health care; fund planning activities for a potential new senior living-learning community at Chatham University; serve the needs of the Jewish community through a block grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh; and support the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Impact Fund.

Creating a Museum to the Future of Health Care

Technology advancements have the potential to transform every aspect of the healthcare system– from prevention, diagnoses, and treatment, to workforce preparation and accreditation, to care design and delivery. To prepare for this new era, JHF has approved a three-year, $500,000 grant to design and create a Museum to the Future (MTTF) of Health Care. Rather than a traditional bricks-and-mortar building, the MTTF will be an online, evolving space for healthcare experts, technologists, futurists, policy makers, community leaders, students, and other stakeholders to learn about cutting-edge healthcare innovations, spread best practices, and collaborate on new breakthroughs.

“When it comes to improving our healthcare system, the time for tinkering at the margins is over,” says Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, president and CEO of JHF. “The U.S. spends nearly a fifth of its GDP on health care—far more than any other affluent country—and in return we are among the worst in population health status. It’s estimated that nearly 40 cents of every dollar spent on health care buys waste, in the form of overtreatment, poor care coordination, inefficiencies, preventable errors, and other activities that add no value and some that cause harm. That means we’re squandering resources that could be used to pay for things that improve health, like behavioral health services in primary care, pharmacy consultations, patient education, cheaper drugs, nutrition and exercise, community health workers, quality improvement coaching and training, and new technologies.

“It’s time to build an entirely new health system—one that’s safe, reliable, transparent in cost and quality, efficient, and prevention-focused,” Dr. Feinstein says. “The MTTF will showcase that best-performing, most-innovative, technologically-updated system of the future, with changing virtual exhibits that inspire leaders, payers and governing boards locally, nationally, and globally to make change. If we can’t imagine it, we won’t get it! And why shouldn’t we have the best healthcare system possible?”

To learn more about current and anticipated healthcare innovations, JHF will collaborate with the Lown Institute on a framing paper, and will convene community-wide planning sessions for the MTTF. The Foundation will also re-establish its Quality Improvement meets Innovation Technology (QI2T) Fellowship, which will provide an opportunity for multidisciplinary graduate students to accelerate change.

Exploring a Next Generation Senior Living Community at Chatham University

Among U.S. counties with a population of at least one million people, Allegheny County has the second-highest proportion of seniors (age 65 or older) in the U.S., according to the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research. The county’s percentage of seniors projects to rise from about 18% currently to about 22% by 2030. While meeting the medical needs of this growing elderly population is critical, considerably less attention is paid to creating stimulating social and intellectual opportunities that promote well-being.

In response, JHF has approved a $50,000 planning grant to Chatham University to determine the feasibility of creating a new living-learning community for seniors. The initiative would build on Chatham’s signature programs related to physical health and wellness, the environment, and sustainability.

The planning grant to Chatham University furthers the goals of JHF’s overall Senior Connections initiative. Senior Connections is a multipronged effort to strengthen an umbrella of services available for seniors to live safe and  satisfying lives, including adequate transportation and housing, exercise and recreational opportunities, geriatric-friendly health care, and caregiver supports.

Serving the Health Needs of the Jewish Community: Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Block Grant

Since its founding in 1990, JHF has provided an annual block grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, which is distributed to beneficiary agencies to address the health needs of the Jewish community, including those of the elderly, families that have children with special needs, and the poor. JHF’s $900,000 grant, which benefits the Jewish Association on Aging, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Riverview Towers, and Jewish Residential Services, represents 60% of the $1.5 million distributed annually by the Federation to the local community for human service needs.

The block grant is part of JHF’s more than $2.7 million in total funding support provided to the local Jewish community in 2016.

Supporting the United Way of Allegheny County’s Impact Fund

The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania provides critical support to organizations that JHF funds in both the Jewish and general communities. In recognition of the growing need for human services, greater competition for philanthropic dollars, and the increased restriction of contributions to specific organizations, JHF has approved an annual grant to the United Way every year since 1999.

JHF’s $68,000 contribution will be used in support of the United Way’s Impact Fund, which strengthens the core programs of the United Way’s partner agencies and advances new initiatives to meet critical community needs related to seniors, children and families, employment, and housing, among other items.

The United Way and JHF have also partnered on the national enrollment campaign in support the Affordable Care Act, as well as the planning processes to enhance the health and well-being of local seniors, caregivers, and disabled community members.

About the Jewish Healthcare Foundation

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) is a public charity that offers a unique blend of research, education, grantmaking, and program management to improve population health and the outcomes of care. JHF and its two operating arms, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) and Health Careers Futures (HCF) are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and serve a national and global audience. JHF is also a founding member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI). For more information, visit


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