Orange County Health Funder to Shift Community Investments and Resources to Healthy Living

Orange County Health Funder to Shift Community Investments and Resources to Healthy Living

Creating unique collaborations with health innovators and tech industry to make optimum health a reality for the county’s diverse populations.

IRVINE, CA. – The Irvine Health Foundation, a leading philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the health and welfare of people in Orange County, today announced it will pivot its emphasis from grant making in healthcare programs to investing in creating environments and innovations for healthy living.

Building on its $30 million in grants over the last three decades for healthcare-related initiatives in the region, the foundation plans to intensify its focus on approaches that improve individual health behaviors, especially those using technologies that provide broader access to effective health practices. IHF will also highlight systems that bolster the well-being of Orange County’s seniors and veterans.

Orange County Research Highlights Health Needs Go Beyond Healthcare

A first-ever comprehensive study by the USC School of Social Work, The Orange County Veterans Study found veterans are not prepared for the transition to civilian life. Forty-six percent screen positive for depression and half of the veterans in the county who have considered suicide have not received help. According to the study, county veterans have significant healthcare, employment and educational needs that are not being met.

“We intend to work closely with other funders, organizations and leaders to focus on impacting the actions that determine how healthy Orange County residents can be,” said IHF Board Chair Timothy Strader, Sr. “No matter what your personal health is – even if you are managing a health condition – you can live in ways that ensure your health status is maximized. We want everyone to engage in healthy living. But we need to create ways that make it possible.”

Over more than a year the foundation conducted a far-reaching strategic planning process to identify the systemic factors in Orange County that influence an individual’s health behaviors. The Board of Directors convened a cadre of health experts and reviewed research studies to examine the factors that prevent Orange County residents from healthy living behaviors.

According to the California Department of Education, nearly 50% of school age children in Orange County live on the fringes of proper nutrition. Poverty rates among seniors in Orange County outpace the average in California; and the county is in the top 20 counties for incidents of Alzheimer’s disease. Low-income residents are hit hardest by obesity, according to the Orange County Community Indicators Report.

“Irvine Health Foundation is accelerating its efforts to form new partnerships with technology companies, academic and philanthropic organizations, investors, innovators, and the development of non-traditional approaches. Frankly, we are open to a variety of new tactics, and are exploring new thinking”, said Ed Kacic, IHF President. “We are committing our resources to making healthy living the way-of-life in the diverse communities that comprise Orange County.”

The foundation brings to its funding and investment partners 30 years of knowledge about the diverse communities of Orange County, a deep expertise in the county’s safety net and philanthropic infrastructure, and a wealth of relationships with nonprofits and organizations in the region.

ABOUT IRVINE HEALTH FOUNDATION
Irvine Health Foundation, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015 is committed to improving the health and well-being of the diverse populations in Orange County, CA. For more information, visit www.ihf.org.

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