Philanthropy and Strategic Direction

By Mary K. Totten and John R. Combes

The shift from volume- to value based healthcare delivery will necessitate innovative and farsighted financial solutions for hospitals large and small. Among those leading edge responses must be a reconsideration of philanthropy’s strategic role within the organization—led by a CEO who is willing to work with the board and reframe the issue as a newly vital revenue stream. Although insightful CEOs may see philanthropy’s potential in a value based healthcare world, they may not realize how closely their involvement is tied to enhanced philanthropic performance.

Indeed, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy estimates only one third of CEOs have expectations for philanthropy participation included in their stated job description. “The symbolic and tactical importance of the CEO in setting the tone and priorities for philanthropy for the organization cannot be overstated,” says Betsy Chapin Taylor, leader of healthcare philanthropy consulting firm Accordant Philanthropy.

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