Our Story

From our early years to where we are today, find out how we’ve evolved and grown as a foundation.

Founded in 2002 as the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, we awarded our first grants in April 2004. Since that time, we have awarded more than 400 grants totaling more than $30 million to fund programs in 16 counties in western and central New York.

From our inception, we have focused our funding on programs that improve health outcomes for two of the most vulnerable and underserved populations in our regions – vulnerable older adults and children birth to age five who are impacted by poverty.

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The Early Years

1975

Health Care Plan founded, serving members in Western New York

1978

Health Services Medical Corporation founded, serving members in central New York

1998

Health Care Plan and Health Services Medical Corporation merge to become Univera Health Care

2001

Univera Health Care merges into Excellus, a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan based in Rochester, NY

October 2001

As a result of this merger, the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York is founded and endowed with assets that would eventually total approximately $100 million

2002

Governance and legal infrastructure of Foundation developed
2003 to 2008

2003

Foundation begins operations with offices in Buffalo and Syracuse, NY

2003

Board of Trustees hires Ann F. Monroe as Foundation’s first president

2004

Foundation issues first RFP and chooses funding priorities: frail elders and children living in communities of poverty

2005-2008

Our Early Vision:

Frail elders live out their lives in keeping with their wishes
Children living in communities of poverty reach their full physical, emotional and academic potential
Programs included: Nuts and Bolts, Transitions of Care, Early Childhood Connections, Neighborhood Action Initiative, Falls Prevention, Sharing Your Wishes, Health Leadership Fellows, Reaching for Excellence

2009 Strategic Sharpening

Board and staff examined the investments the foundation made and the impact those investments had. As a result, we sharpened our focus on children and elders and refined our visions for both populations. We also formally developed a third focus area – Building Community Health Capacity.
2009 to 2014

Our Vision

Decline is deferred and frail elders function successfully within the community with effective health care and supports
Children ages birth to 5 living in poverty are healthy and ready to succeed in school
Ensure that people and communities have what they need to make good health decisions and are supported by high quality, appropriate health care

Programs included: CHOMPERS!, The Right Start, Geriatric Workforce Initiative, Step Up to Stop Falls, Maternal and Child Health, Midwifery, Federally Qualified Health Center Booster Project, Fellows Action Network

2012

We celebrated our 10th anniversary and changed our name to the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York.

2014 Strategic Sharpening

We reaffirmed our commitment to our three focus areas, developed a set of eight principles that guide our work and refined our visions in each focus area.

Our Vision Today:

All vulnerable older adults are to plan for and maintain a dignified, independent, high-quality life in their communites
All children affected by poverty are physically, socially and emotionally healthy as they enter kindergarten
All communities are able to plan for, and address, the health needs of the most vulnerable and those in poverty

Looking Ahead

While the environment we live in continues to change around us, we continue to focus on what we can do to advance the shared vision we hold for our most vulnerable children and older adults in our regions.