Health Foundation Announces New Vision and Strategic Plan

The people we serve

Contact: Kerry Jones Waring

Mission to improve health of western and central New York continues with new focus
on racial and socioeconomic equity

BUFFALO, NY— The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York is proud to announce the Board of Trustees has approved a new vision statement and strategic plan that will guide the work of the Health Foundation through 2025.

An extensive planning process that began in 2019 has resulted in a new organizational vision statement, as well as three long-term goals and corresponding mid-term goals to pursue that vision. The plan also reaffirmed the Health Foundation’s commitment to young children impacted by poverty; older adults; and the community-based organizations that serve them. Read more here.

The Health Foundation’s mission will continue to be improving the health and health care of the people and communities of western and central New York.

The Health Foundation’s new vision is: A healthy central and western New York where racial and socioeconomic equity are prioritized so all people can reach their full potential and achieve equitable health outcomes.

The Health Foundation’s long-term goals in support of the new vision are:

  • Individual well-being is promoted and addressed for both children and older adults
  • Community-based organizations and health systems are collaborative and sustainable
  • Racial and socioeconomic equity are prioritized and all people are served by trusted, unbiased, high-quality care.

This new vision will be pursued through a set of long- and mid-term goals supported by strategic approaches that include: program development, grantmaking, community partnerships and convenings, capacity building, and advocacy. For more details about the Health Foundation’s new strategic plan, including a full list of the organization’s long- and mid-term goals and a “Theory of Change” document that outlines how the Health Foundation will pursue these goals, please visit the Health Foundation’s website here.

The new plan is a natural evolution of the Health Foundation’s work, which has always focused on improving the health of underserved communities. The new vision represents a sharpened, more specific approach that recognizes the role of race and socioeconomic status in health disparities.

This is the result of an extensive process that included meeting with and listening to more than 25 community partners in the nonprofit and public sectors across western and central New York, conducting a scan of more than 35 regional organizations, and reviewing more than 50 existing reports, articles and data sources. The process also included a comprehensive series of focus groups and workshop sessions with Health Foundation staff and trustees.

“The health disparities experienced by communities of color and low-income populations in both western and central New York are clear and in some cases, such as maternal mortality, increasing over time,” said Nora OBrien-Suric, PhD, President of the Health Foundation. “Our new strategic plan comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated these existing inequities, and the resulting economic crisis has put immense strain on community-based organizations on the front lines of these issues. We remain committed to partnering on solutions for the acute stage of this crisis, even as we work to address the long-term issues that cause barriers to health equity.”

“Although our strategic planning process preceded the COVID-19 crisis and current movements for racial justice, the events of 2020 have made the importance of this work clearer than ever. There is a great need, in our community and across the country, to address how systemic barriers based on race and economic status have an impact on health,” said Cheryl Smith Fisher, Chair of the Health Foundation Board of Trustees. “We are hopeful and energized as we begin our first steps toward this new vision. We recognize this will require a long-term and rigorous commitment to developing and instituting organizational policies, practices and behaviors that are intentionally centered on racial and socioeconomic equity.”

About the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York
The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York is an independent private foundation that advocates for continuous improvement in health and health care for the people and communities of western and central New York. For more information, visit