Advancing Resilience & Community Health (ARCH)

Advancing Resilience & Community Health (ARCH)

The Advancing Resilience and Community Health (ARCH) project was designed to help burgeoning relationships between healthcare institutions (payors and hospital systems) and community-based organizations (CBOs) get off the ground successfully and at a scale that could make a difference. NFF partnered with three networks – EngageWell IPA (New York), Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (Minnesota), and Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (Virginia) – to explore what it takes for networks of CBOs to come together and partner with healthcare. 

On this page you'll find:

ARCH Networks' Response to COVID-19

EngageWell IPA, Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC), and Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH) – coalesced their resources, knowledge, and power to meet the imminent needs of their communities and members during the COVID-19 crisis. As individual community-based organizations continued to conduct mission-critical work on the ground, networks played a salient and valuable role to members during this unprecedented time by providing flexible resources, filling critical capacity gaps, fundraising, and advocating on behalf of members.

Here are some ways that our networks contributed to solutions for their members and communities:

EngageWell IPA

  • EngageWell submitted seven grant applications on behalf of member agencies to support a network-wide telehealth platform, patient/provider telehealth equipment and connectivity, the development of a network-wide training program, and other agency-specific needs. Five grants were awarded, totaling $1.4 million, with another $750,000 under consideration. 
  • The network also managed bulk orders of PPE for providers within the network and coordinated the delivery of food, hygiene supplies, and medication to at-risk clients.


  • MACC led advocacy efforts within the network, including a letter to state legislators with funding guidance around contract terms, requesting that government keep contract commitments regardless of an organization’s ability to provide the same level of service during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The network hosted a virtual summit for members, alongside lobbyists and lawyers, to inform members how COVID-19 impacts their contracts and to solicit feedback on member experiences.
  • MACC also provided critical member support through their shared service lines on HR implications, billing for telehealth/telemedicine services, plus financial projections and reforecasts during this time of change.


  • TJACH identified funding from the Emergency Operation Center for rooms at a local hotel where people experiencing homelessness can stay and self-isolate from one another. TJACH also paid directly for an additional floor of hotel rooms so that people who test positive for COVID-19 have a safe place to land after being discharged from the hospital.  
  • The network coordinated with UVA medical students to conduct daily meal delivery and check-ins for these individuals.
  • TJACH also developed processes for people who test positive within the homeless community, including organizing required nursing staff, housing workers, and security.

Centering Community-Led Solutions

In our capstone report for ARCH, we explore the disadvantages of contracts, why centering communities is so important, and the role of racial equity in pursuing better health outcomes.

Read report

About ARCH

A safe, clean place to live. Neighborhoods and parks where people can walk and play. A job that pays a living wage. Nutritious food on the table. Along with good medical care, these are some of the many factors that help make us healthy. Providers and payors in the healthcare system increasingly recognize that where we work, play, and live – what are called the “social determinants of health”– are as important to their patients’ health as good medical care. Nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) have long focused on addressing these social determinants of health (SDOH). So, how can healthcare organizations and CBOs work together to better care for their clients?

What We Hoped To Achieve 

We set out to support networks of CBOs – nonprofits that had already come together to address multiple needs – that were looking to collectively contract with often-larger healthcare institutions. Some of the questions we set out to investigate include:

  • How are CBOs working together collaboratively to build agreements with healthcare?
  • What are new payment models for this integrated work?
  • What do fair contracts look like?
  • How can CBOs prepare for an influx of new client referrals from their healthcare partners?
  • How do we structure contracts to focus on long-term patient well-being?

Our capstone report highlights themes and lessons learned that we hope will inform new approaches to advancing community health, including:

  • Contracts have more disadvantages than benefits
  • Networks redefined success by prioritizing communities over contracts
  • Addressing health equity means centering racial equity
  • It’s time to invest in community-led solutions

What We Learned


Insights from ARCH:


ARCH Voices

  • EngageWell IPA is a coalition of community-based providers in New York City that offers comprehensive, integrated services to address complex medical and behavioral health needs and unmet social determinants of health, including food, housing, and economic insecurity.
  • Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC) is a Twin Cities, Minnesota collaborative network composed of 50 human-services nonprofits addressing housing, food insecurity, mental health, education, and more. MACC is building the infrastructure and capacity necessary to nurture trust, develop partnerships, and support the business relationships between CBOs and healthcare organizations.
  • Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH) is a collaborative of community providers and funders in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area. TJACH is committed to improving health outcomes and housing stability for people experiencing homelessness or housing instability, and to reduce inappropriate use of local emergency departments through supportive housing services.

ARCH’s Advisory Group members, representing a range of fields, provided advice, market intelligence, and expertise as participants pursued partnerships to bring health-boosting services to more people. They include:

  • Anna Barnes, Illinois Public Health Institute
  • Tamar Bauer, TB Consulting Inc. and Entrepreneur in Residence, Project Evident
  • Stephanie Burdick, Patient Consumer Advocate
  • Lauran Hardin, National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs
  • Deborah Kozick, Center for Health Care Strategies
  • Jean Flatley McGuire, Northeastern University
  • Marisa Scala-Foley, Aging and Disability Business Institute, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
  • Sandra Viera, Prevention Institute

A look at what brought three networks together

Below are three short videos featuring interviews from leaders and members of three networks – EngageWell IPA (New York), Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (Minnesota), and Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (Virginia) – about what it’s like to come together around a shared vision for better health equity for people in our communities. 

EngageWell IPA: Leveraging the Power of One

Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC): Better Together

Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH): A Spectrum of Care

Support for Advancing Resilience & Community Health was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Follow the conversation

Join our mailing list to stay posted on the latest news and updates from NFF.

Sign up