BY CARMEN SIERING
Those looking to support health programs in Bloomington and Monroe County now have more ways to give, but it can get a little confusing.
In January, Indiana University Health launched the Indiana University Health Foundation (IUHF), the philanthropic arm of IU Health Bloomington Hospital, as well as 15 other IU hospitals in the state.
At the same time, the 50-year-old Bloomington Hospital Foundation was rebranded as the Bloomington Health Foundation (BHF). The BHF continues to partner with the hospital but, at the same time, has broadened its scope by investing in and partnering with other health-related organizations and programs solely in Bloomington.
Diane Buzzell, director of philanthropy for the IUHF south central region, says the decision to centralize giving came after more than a year of research and study. She says IU Health found that having one philanthropic office for the 16-hospital system is more efficient.
“We also get a better return on investment, because more money is being invested,” Buzzell says. And while all monies are invested together, each local hospital has its own account.
“Local does stay local,” Buzzell emphasizes. “So if you donate to the Bloomington Hospital or Olcott Center or Positive Link, that money stays in Bloomington.”
Jon Barada, president and CEO of the new BHF, says having two health foundations is a big plus. “We simply grew the pot,” he says. “While we won’t be raising money for IU Health directly, we will be giving money to it as a grantee.” In fact, that’s already happening.
At a launch party in June, the BHF announced the distribution of $1 million in grants. Half of that went to IU Health programs.
The other $500,000 included funding for programs ranging from addiction recovery and mental health care to cancer prevention and infant mortality. Many of the grants, such as one to hire a full-time early childhood mental health therapist for the Monroe County United Ministries preschool programs, are focused on supporting needs in well-established community programs.
“Primarily, we want to partner with other organizations,” Barada says. “These programs are in place and we’re here to strengthen the resources we already have in our community.”