Improving Community Health and Well-Being

Many complex factors – economic and social, as well as medical – explain the huge inequities in the well-being of America’s communities. Continuing to devote attention and resources to siloed healthcare will never fix this. We must find new ways to work together to help all of us live healthier lives.

Along with the country’s increasing focus on healthcare quality and cost comes an increasing recognition of the important role that social determinants of health – such as housing, food security, education, employment – play in the overall well-being of US people and communities. NFF is a pioneer in a movement to organize all stakeholders around shared and more broadly defined, outcomes-oriented health goals by addressing both medical and social needs.

NFF has long supported community-based providers of healthcare and human services, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, with financing and consulting services. Building on this deep experience, we are now helping both community-based organizations and large healthcare systems explore collaborations that could produce healthier communities.

Reports and Case Studies

  • Working Together Toward Better Health Outcomes, a report analyzing lessons learned from more than 200 emerging partnerships across the US; produced as part of the Partnership for Healthy Outcomes, a project with NFF, the Center for Health Care Strategies, and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Bridging Community-Based Human Services and Health Care: Case Study Series, also part of the Partnership for Healthy Outcomes, these case studies capture insights on partnerships between health care organizations and community-based organizations (CBOs), particularly those that serve low-income and/or vulnerable populations
  • Human Services Organizations: Partnering for Better Community Health, a report plus comprehensive resources from the Healthy Outcomes Initiative, a multi-year project supported by The Kresge Foundation, for those new to human services and health collaborations as well as pioneering practitioners


Among our recent and ongoing health work:

ARCH (Advancing Resilience & Community Health), will help networks of nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) develop new contracts, payment models, and partnership approaches with large healthcare organizations to achieve better health outcomes across the United States. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the initiative is focused on networks of CBOs that address food, housing, and other social issues critical to community well-being.

AIM Healthy™: This NFF fund helps California providers of supportive housing, elder care, behavioral health, and other essential community services play their crucial role in achieving better health outcomes. To learn more about NFF's customized financing for providers of healthcare and social services, click here and here.

Advancing Community-Based Organization and Health Care Partnerships to Address Social Determinants of Health: Through support from Kaiser Permanente Community Health, NFF and the Center for Health Care Strategies developed a set of case studies and resources to inform healthcare and CBO partners working together to address social needs and improve health outcomes for at-risk patients.

Healthy Outcomes Initiative: Supported by $1.7 million from The Kresge Foundation, we are helping human-services providers in low-income communities to position themselves to communicate and collaborate with large healthcare organizations. This work includes providing capacity-building and readiness tools to networks of human-services providers.

God's Love We Deliver, a Healthy Outcomes Initiative partner, is using food as medicine to create positive health outcomes. Click here to read more.

Partnership for Healthy Outcomes: With the Center for Health Care Strategies and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and with generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we are capturing and sharing learnings and emerging best practices for successful partnerships between healthcare and community-based organizations, particularly those serving low-income and/or vulnerable populations.

Colorado Health Safety Net: With support from The Colorado Health Foundation, we studied the drivers of financial sustainability for 21 health centers that provide primary care, dental, behavioral health, case management, public health prevention/education, and transportation to vulnerable communities in the state. We published key findings and recommendations from that work, and are now helping centers prepare for change capital grants to help them drive better health outcomes for their communities.