In 2006, Advocate Health Care established the Advocate Bethany Community Health Fund (also known as the Bethany Fund). The Bethany Fund was created as part of Advocate’s ongoing commitment to support existing community organizations as they build, promote and sustain healthy communities on the West Side of Chicago. The mission of the Bethany Fund is:
To address the unique health needs of the Advocate Bethany Hospital community by funding programs that promote health and wellness and reduce health disparities and their determinants.
This mission will be carried out by nonprofit organizations that share the Bethany Fund’s core values of dignity, community investment, family and spirituality, and demonstrate a commitment to utilizing community assets to promote positive community development.
As part of Advocate Bethany Hospital’s transition to a specialty hospital, now serving patients with extended acute care needs throughout Chicagoland, the Bethany Fund Board will grant $1 million per year through 2020 to local programs that seek to address the mission of the Bethany Fund in the four targeted West Side communities served by Advocate Bethany Hospital. These four targeted communities or Bethany Fund Communities are: Austin, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park and North Lawndale.
Leadership & Values
Bethany Fund Board: The Bethany Fund Board is managed by Advocate Charitable Foundation. The Board is comprised of eight community members and seven Advocate representatives, is responsible for overseeing the Bethany Fund and selecting applicants who will receive grant awards.
Advisory Council: Advocate Health Care formed an Advisory Council, which was convened from December 2006 to June 2007, to conduct a needs assessment of the Bethany Fund Communities and to identify priority areas for funding. This Advisory Council, led by an outside facilitator from the public-health arena, was comprised of both community members from the Bethany Fund Communities and leaders at Advocate. The Advisory Council has determined that all programs submitted for funding should incorporate one or more of the following Core Values:
- Individual and Community-wide Dignity: Respect for diverse cultures, beliefs, physical abilities and age groups should be valued in the Bethany Fund Communities. The dignity of the individual should be paramount in all community efforts. These efforts should be guided by the principle that every individual should reach his/her full potential with the support of the entire community.
- Investing in and Promoting Community Institutions: Access, by the entire community, to institutions that provide opportunities for education, training, the arts, cultural activities, commerce, human services, recreation and conservation should be supported and valued in planning and priority setting.
- Family: Traditional and non-traditional family units provide a critical nurturing environment for healthy development and contribute to health and wellness. Community resources and institutions should be designed on a foundation of family support.
- Faith and Spirituality: The hope, fellowship and values that are by-products of faith communities and individual spirituality contribute to healthy communities and should be viewed as important considerations in planning for community health improvement.
The Bethany Fund Board seeks to award grants to organizations that understand the importance of recognizing, utilizing and strengthening community assets as a means of building healthy communities. Community-asset building involves the interaction of human people, organizations and processes existing within a given community, which can be leveraged to solve collective problems and improve or maintain the well-being of the community.¹ The Advisory Council has determined that all organizations that submit for funding should identify and incorporate community assets into their programming. The following are some examples of community assets in the Bethany Fund Communities:
- Buildings suitable for community activities
- Residents willing to serve as community leaders
- Cultural productions and the involvement of youth in cultural expressions
- Educational institutions
- Health centers and faith organizations
- Networks of medical providers
- Community organizations
- Ministerial alliances