The Jenkins Foundation is one of six supporting foundations at the Community Foundation. Created from the sale of Retreat Hospital, the foundation is led today by a dedicated group of women who are committed to improving the health and wellness of our community. Here is their story.
Continuing a legacy of providing compassionate care
The inspiration for the Jenkins Foundation is found in the story of Annabella Ravenscroft Jenkins, a late 19th century pioneer who opened her home to wounded enlisted soldiers during the Civil War. Her growing concern about the health care needs of the medically underserved led to the establishment of Retreat for the Sick (later named The Retreat Hospital), which provided health care on a sliding fee scale and free health care to those unable to pay. Today, the Jenkins Foundation embodies that same spirit of compassion and caring in its work to improve health care in Greater Richmond.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors has fostered Annabella’s legacy over the years, applying her vision to modern day challenges. Today, our grantmaking is focused on equitable access to health care services, as well as programs that reduce risky behaviors and promote safe and healthy environments. Our nonprofit partners use our resources to maximize their own – spurring innovation, collaboration and efficiency. Our greatest inspiration, however, is found in children who envision a future without violence, families who thrive together and communities that prioritize healthy lifestyles.
Building resources for the future
The Jenkins Foundation has become a pacesetter in local health philanthropy, growing in both size and influence. Through good stewardship and wise investment strategies, our endowment has also doubled to reach $49 million and cumulative grants now total $29 million. This growth means the Foundation has greater flexibility to build the capacity of its nonprofit partners and move the needle on important issues affecting the health status of residents in Greater Richmond.
One of the Foundation’s key funding priorities is to increase access to primary care for the uninsured and underinsured by strengthening the region’s health safety net. Grants have not only seeded new health clinics in previously underserved areas, but also expanded operations for mainstay organizations like CrossOver Ministry. Support from the Jenkins Foundation allowed CrossOver to initiate key projects like the clinic in Western Henrico and their pharmacy, and build internal capacity with funding for a volunteer coordinator and the move to electronic health records.
Improving health outcomes in Greater Richmond
Our board strives to make strategic funding decisions that not only address immediate needs, but also have the potential for long-term impact. We utilize the expertise of community partners to understand the challenges patients and families face in accessing services or using them effectively. We also monitor and measure the impact of our grants. Some of our earliest investments continue to produce benefits years later.
In 1998, the Jenkins Foundation pledged $1.34 million to VCU’s Medical College of Virginia Hospitals to implement the Care Coordination project, a model that aligned health professionals to help uninsured residents navigate to the right level of care at the right place and right time. Case managers connected patients to community resources and provided education to reduce emergency room visits. This program served as the framework for the Virginia Coordinated Care for the Uninsured (VCC) program that is now a nationally recognized partnership with more than 50 community-based providers that provide access to free or discounted primary care. Jenkins’ investment allowed VCU to improve services to an often neglected patient population with a result of positive community wellness and health care cost savings.
Partnering to advance long-term solutions
The Jenkins Foundation demonstrates vision through its willingness to boldly invest in new or innovative projects that have potential to fill service gaps for Richmond’s most vulnerable populations. Not only did the Jenkins Foundation provide a $1 million lead gift to bring The Healing Place to Richmond in 2003, it remained at the table to ensure continued success. Beyond our initial investment, subsequent grants supported the organization’s merger with CARITAS and integration of training and transition services – all to produce the best possible result for previously homeless men participating in this nationally recognized addiction recovery program. With a continuous look forward, Jenkins remains engaged in plans to develop a complementary program for women.
Even as we celebrate progress to date, we also look forward to the meaningful conversations and opportunities ahead. Community change can be hard and it is often incremental, but we remain committed. With our long-term vision and a constantly growing network of dedicated partners, there is so much more we can achieve together.