June 2001

Leadership Letter from Sr. Peggy Martin

0601Sr Photo

Peggy Martin, OP, JCL
Senior Vice President
Sponsorship and Governance

Within our industry, there is a persistent and growing sense that the real future of health care lies not only within the walls of our facilities, but out in the life of a community. For five years, Catholic Health Initiatives’ Mission and Ministry Fund has provided grants to market-based organizations that bravely break the boundaries of institutional care to improve community health.

While many of the grants go to innovative project-based efforts like those featured in this issue of Initiatives, the Mission and Ministry Fund has also established a track of grants specifically for organizations that engage in healthy community planning. The healthy community coalitions to which many market-based organizations belong can use these Healthy Community Planning Grants to launch, continue or restart the planning process that is the foundation of healthy communities work.

The healthy community planning process gathers all of the stakeholders within a community to facilitate grassroots involvement. Only when the discussion flows from the grassroots up, rather than from the top down, can a community identify the true needs of its stakeholders and design sustainable programs to meet those needs.

Peggy Egan, OSF, vice president of mission for Catholic Health Initiatives,
tells a wonderful story about a neighborhood in which leaders wanted to start an anti-crime program. However, when they gathered neighborhood residents to talk about the program, the people talked about something else. What they really wanted was a cleaner place to live. With that need identified, the community created a plan that beautified the neighborhood. The increased activity and sense of pride made the neighborhood safer, too.

During the next few years, we expect that the Healthy Community Planning Grants presented by the Mission and Ministry Fund will fuel coalitions that will, in turn, apply for more grants for their project-based work. When the fund supports both the planning process and the subsequent projects, we will be helping to bring about systemic and sustainable change in the health of the communities we serve. Catholic Health Initiatives is blessed to be able to provide the support of the Mission and Ministry Fund to our market-based organizations, which serve as essential catalysts in this process.