Who We Are

Why Convergence?

The Convergence Partnership showcases a new philosophy and approach for philanthropic collaboration. It is demonstrating the value of equity-focused, cross-sector efforts that create leverage and synergy, and yield co-benefits. It is creating a new “field of fields,” where connections and collaborations across an array of fields are recognized as bringing strategic impacts with multiple benefits. Thus, the Convergence Partnership is focused on advancing healthy people and healthy places by supporting multifield, multisector policy and environmental changes that create the conditions that allow all to reach their full potential.

At the local, state, regional, and national levels, the Partnership engages in strategic investments and activities that lead to transformational change. This has required a new way of grantmaking and a new way of working together.

The elements that translate into the “Convergence difference” will continue to be prioritized and integrated into its investments and activities. The elements include:

  • Advancing equity, first and foremost: Equity serves as the lens through which all Partnership decisions are made, from what is funded and who is funded to when and how the Partnership uses its collective voice.
  • Using collaboration to redefine the boundaries of philanthropy: In acting together, the Partnership is not simply trying to meet individual organizational needs, but rather is going above and beyond organizational imperatives to achieve greater and more expansive impact.
  • Adopting strategic opportunism: The Partnership uses an adaptive, asset-based analysis to assess the benefit of its joint investments and activities in advancing its overall goals, and it applies this analysis to each specific strategy.
  • Building a network and philanthropic community of practice: The concept of “convergence” extends beyond the national partners and is deeply reflected in the network, an emerging field of equity-focused grantmakers committed to advancing healthy people and healthy places through joint action and policy and practice changes. For examples of our work in the field, please visit the Convergence Network section.

Background

Founded in 2007, the Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of national funders and health-care organizations working together at the intersection of multiple issues to realize co-benefits and ensure its investment will have the most impact. This multisectoral approach helps uncover solutions that solve multiple problems at once. The Partnership was founded on the premise that funders can achieve more by deliberately acting together than by standing alone. Over the years, this premise has been tested and proven successful — from the growth of the Partnership itself and the resulting expansion of priorities and opportunities, to successfully navigating the complexities imposed by an ever-shifting, often challenging, political climate. The Partnership has spearheaded investments and action focused on changing policies and practices that create vibrant communities and ensure that all, regardless of income or race, can live healthy, prosperous lives.

Partners

There are now a total of eight organizations on the steering committee of the Convergence Partnership: Ascension Health, The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, The Kresge Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Nemours, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention serves as the Partnership’s technical advisor. PolicyLink continues to act as the program director, and the Prevention Institute as strategic advisor. Together, we craft strategy, provide leadership, assess progress, and advance the Partnership’s vision of Healthy People, Healthy Places. The Tides Foundation manages grants made through the Convergence Partnership Fund at Tides. The Partnership also consists of a national Convergence network of over 80 local and regional foundations increasingly contributing to a cohesive, amplified convergence agenda that advances equity along with environmental and policy changes across the country. 

For over 60 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been dedicated to protecting health and promoting quality of life through the prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability. CDC is committed to forming new partnerships and seeking solutions to community-wide public health problems. The mission of CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) is to lead efforts that promote health and well-being through prevention and control of chronic diseases. Their major program areas include diabetes; healthy communities; healthy youth; nutrition, physical activity, and obesity; heart disease; and health disparities, among others. Specifically, the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity aims to lead strategic public health efforts to prevent and control obesity, chronic disease, and other health conditions though regular physical activity and good nutrition. In 2010, CDC awarded grants to communities, states, and territories across the country to support public health efforts to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, reduce obesity, and decrease tobacco use — four critical actions to combat chronic disease and promote health. The projects are part of a comprehensive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prevention and wellness initiative — Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) — created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. CPPW funding focuses on supporting communities to make the policy, environmental, and systems changes necessary for obesity and tobacco prevention. For more information visit, CDC Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

For more information please see the Convergence Network page. 

Ascension Health

Ascension Health is the nation's largest Catholic and nonprofit health system and the third-largest system (based on revenues) in the United States. Their mission-focused Health Ministries provide acute care services; long-term care; community health services; and psychiatric, rehabilitation, and residential care. Their sponsors began this ministry of faith hundreds of years ago. Today they continue that legacy through the work of more than 113,000 associates serving in more than 500 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Ascension Health is transforming healthcare by providing the highest quality care to all, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. For more information, visit Ascension Health.

The California Endowment

The California Endowment (TCE) is a private, statewide, health foundation whose mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Recognizing that real health improvements are tied to systemic reforms beyond the size and scope of its grantmaking, TCE launched the Center for Healthy Communities to bring together community and civic leaders, health providers, advocates, and policymakers in the quest for sustainable solutions to California’s critical health-care issues. As the endowment embarks on its 10-year Building Healthy Communities initiative, the center serves as a forum for collaborative action to help make that vision a reality. TCE’s Community Health and Elimination of Health Disparities Program builds healthy communities by improving the social and physical environments that shape health behaviors and outcomes. For more information, visit The California Endowment.

Kaiser Permanente

The mission of Kaiser Permanente (KP) is to provide high-quality, affordable health-care services and to improve the health of their members and the communities they serve. Kaiser’s efforts go beyond the doctor's office to make a direct impact in schools, neighborhoods, workplaces and health-care settings — everyplace where people live, work, and play. Specifically, the Community Health Initiatives (CHI) for Healthy Eating Active Living seeks to transform the health of communities by linking an evidence-based and prevention-oriented approach to medicine with community activism and proven public health interventions. Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) is KP’s approach to address the obesity epidemic with a multifaceted, long-term effort that crosses the full spectrum of health promotion. For more information, visit Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Program.

The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation, in partnership with their grantees, seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations by creating access and opportunity in underserved communities and by advancing environmental stability. The Kresge Foundation is a national foundation that supports six fields of interest: health, the environment, community development, arts and culture, education, and human services. Given the broad and complex health challenges plaguing residents of many communities in the United States, Kresge decided to expand its efforts significantly. In June 2008, they launched a major program to address the health inequities found in many low-income communities. Their Health Program has adopted an integrated, cross-sector, multisystem approach to promote the physical health and well-being of low-income and vulnerable populations by improving the environmental and social conditions affecting them and their communities. The program also works to increase both access to and quality of their health-care services, and advance the field through new knowledge and promising practices. The Health Team funds evidence-based work and innovation developed at the local, state, or national levels in the following three areas: healthy environments, caring communities, and emerging and promising practices in health. For more information, visit Kresge's Health Program

MacArthur Foundation

In July 2015, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation officially joined the Convergence Partnership. As one the nation’s largest independent foundations, the MacArthur Foundation’s mission is to support effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.


With grants and program-related investments totaling $385 million, foundation has pursued a goal of access to stable, decent homes for the greatest number of low- and moderate-income American families through more balanced national, state, and local housing policies. The foundation also supports a research initiative called How Housing Matters to Families and Communities, which explores the notion that affordable housing may be an essential “platform” that promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical and mental health, among other areas. 

The MacArthur Foundation brings a wealth of knowledge and learning related to affordable housing to the Partnership’s resilient equitable development portfolio, and its work with the Convergence Partnership will provide an opportunity for the foundation to have a greater impact on policy and environmental change at the federal, state, and local levels through the Partnership’s comprehensive healthy people, healthy places agenda. Learn more about the MacArthur Foundation and their housing work.

 

Nemours

Nemours is one of the nation’s leading children’s health-care institutions dedicated to restoring and improving the health of children through care and programs not readily available, with high standards of quality and distinction regardless of the recipient’s financial status. Nemours Health and Prevention Services (NHPS), a nonprofit organization based in Newark, Delaware, works with families and community partners to help children grow up healthy. Their goal is to effect long-term changes in the policies and practices that promote child health and to leverage community strengths and resources to have the greatest impact on the most children. NHPS expands Nemours’ reach beyond clinical care to consider the health of the whole child within his or her family and community. For more information, visit Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) seeks to improve the health and health care of all Americans. The foundation’s program areas include childhood obesity, public health, and vulnerable populations, among others. The RWJF Public Health team is working with a broad range of groups to increase support among public policymakers and other key leaders for improving the structure and funding of public health at the federal level, as well as working with local public health leaders and community advocates to advance knowledge of how tools might improve community health outcomes. The Vulnerable Populations portfolio identifies new pathways for improved health by recognizing the integral relationship between our health and where and how we live, work, learn, and play. The RWJF Childhood Obesity Initiative has the goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by improving access to affordable healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities across the nation. RWJF also launched the Commission to Build a Healthier America, a national, independent, and nonpartisan health commission that focused on investigating how factors, such as education, environment, income, and housing, shape and affect personal behavioral choices. For more information, visit the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. The Kellogg Foundation’s work is designed to take a holistic approach to addressing key social issues. The foundation focuses its resources and energies toward children and families, and conducts its work through the dual lenses of racial equity and civic engagement. In late 2009, the Kellogg Foundation launched Food and Community, a national program focused on creating healthy places where all children thrive. Investments are intended to improve school food systems, increase access to good food and physical activity environments, and to fuel the national healthy living movement. With the launching of Food and Community, the Kellogg Foundation continues to shape the national healthy eating and active living movements. Through Food and Community, the foundation will leverage investments, expand strategic alliances, and share knowledge learned in communities about what works — and what doesn’t — in a continued effort to scale-up community models of change. Through the Food and Fitness collaboratives, the Kellogg Foundation has made investments in the food and physical activity environment in nine communities. For more information, visit W.K. Kellogg Foundation.