Health Foundation Awards $150,000 Grant to Bolster Health in Rural Counties Through New York State Association for Rural Health

NYSARH - Transform Rural Health

Award is part of initiative made possible by gift from billionaire MacKenzie Scott

(NEW YORK) The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York today announced a grant of $150,000 to the New York State Association for Rural Health (NYSARH) to enhance their efforts on behalf of rural communities across the state.

As the only statewide “voice for rural health,” NYSARH’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of rural New Yorkers. The organization was founded in 2001 and has grown in membership and impact in the ensuing years. NYSARH has 105 organizational members, including 31 rural health networks across the state, and collaborates with public, private, and philanthropic partners such as the New York State Office for Rural Health and Community Health Care Association of New York State.

Recently, NYSARH embarked on a new strategic plan that will include the hiring of an executive director in 2024 and a fundraising campaign to continue strengthening their efforts and reach new communities.

Across New York State, rural health disparities are significant due to structural issues such as a lack of health care providers, workers, and facilities; high rates of poverty; food insecurity; poor transportation infrastructure; affordable housing shortages; and more.

NYSARH advocates for change on these issues, and uplifts the value and positive attributes of New York’s rural areas, such as diverse but tight-knit communities, economic assets, and natural resources. NYSARH’s efforts include outreach to legislators and policymakers; raising awareness of rural health needs in the community through educational events or resources; and promoting collaboration and partnership among rural health providers, government agencies, and other partners.

The award to NYSARH is made possible by a gift the Health Foundation received from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in 2022. In 2023, the first use of the Scott gift were grants to six rural health networks across western and central New York to kick off the Health Foundation’s Transform Rural Health campaign.

“NYSARH appreciates the focus that the Health Foundation has placed on rural health. This funding provides us a step in the right direction as we embark on the next life cycle of NYSARH by adding an Executive Director who can work with our members to prioritize and activate our ambitious agenda,” said Michael Pease, President, NYSARH. “With the investment by the Health Foundation, we are hopeful others will see the value in what we provide and help us achieve our immediate goal of raising $500,000 for our three-year implementation plan.”

“Our rural communities are richly diverse and complex places, and the people who live there deserve the best opportunity for a healthy life, just as every New Yorker does. NYSARH is a tremendously valuable voice for those communities,” said Nora OBrien-Suric, PhD, President, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York. “NYSARH’s recent growth and momentum illustrate that rural health is finally getting the awareness it deserves, and we are honored to have the chance to help accelerate their efforts.”


The Health Foundation for Western & 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. The Health Foundation’s 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. For more information, please visit


The New York State Association for Rural Health (NYSARH) is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural New Yorkers and their communities. NYSARH membership includes representatives of all facets of the rural health care industry, as well as individuals and students. On many different levels, NYSARH serves individuals, consumers, non-profit organizations, government agencies and officials, health care facilities, emergency medical service providers, long-term care organizations, businesses, universities, foundations, associations, and other stakeholders in rural health.