The Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is the venerable valley institution – Valley Hospital Association (VHA), incorporated in 1948 to build and operate Valley Hospital in Palmer. In order to meet the acute care needs of the state’s fastest growing population base, VHA entered into an LLC partnership with an equity partner (Triad Hospitals) in 2003 in order to raise the capital to build Mat-Su Regional Medical Center (MSRMC), which opened in January 2006. At MSRMC, patients experience an expanded array of available health-care services, technology, and health care professionals.
As a joint owner in this state-of-the-art medical facility, the foundation is actively involved in guiding the medical center’s operations by seating half the governing board of our local hospital in order to ensure it is meeting community needs. In 2007, Triad Hospitals was purchased by Community Health Systems (CHS), and the unique nonprofit/for profit partnership has continued.
In global terms, the new Mat-Su Regional Medical Center now represents the cornerstone of medical healthcare in the Valley. The Mat-Su Health Foundation is a companion cornerstone with its mission of working in the community towards improving the health and wellness of Mat-Su residents.
In 2005, the VHA Board of Directors decided to have the nonprofit do business as (dba) Mat-Su Health Foundation and to start appropriating some of the revenues earned through hospital ownership back into the community in the form of grants to improve the health of Mat-Su residents. The first grants were given in 2006.
In 2015, the foundation’s ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center increased from 25 percent to 35 percent when MSHF exercised a 10 percent buy-up option provided for by the Operating Agreement between Valley Hospital Association and Palmer-Wasilla Health System, an equity partner/owner of Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. This increased ownership results in larger distributions to the foundation from the hospital, which in turn keeps more money in the local community and increases the funds available for grant making. In 2017, the foundation expects to award $7 million in grants and scholarships to improve the health of Mat-Su residents. MSHF is also working on building an endowment to sustain this level of philanthropic giving in perpetuity.