Investing in a Healthier Community

Article reposted with permission from Nightingale College.

Since 2008, the Mat-Su Health Foundation has invested in a healthy community through grant programs, academic and vocational scholarships, and leadership and professional development opportunities. These programs support the Foundation’s mission to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in the Mat-Su and its vision of a community where all persons have the opportunity for a healthy life.

“The Mat-Su Health Foundation is not a typical funder; we are a public charity, not a private foundation, whose funds come from the hospital, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center,” said Vandana Ingle, senior program officer at the Mat-Su Health Foundation. “The Foundation seats half of the governing board of the hospital, and the investor-owned company seats the other half. In this governance capacity, we ensure that the hospital is growing to meet the healthcare needs of our region by taking our share of the profits and investing them back into our community, with the goal to improve the health of the Mat-Su population.”

By investing in resources that will have great impact on their goals, the Mat-Su Health Foundation has five areas of focus: Healthy Aging, Healthy Families, Healthy Minds, Healthy Futures, and Healthy Foundations. Each of these focus areas have metrics related to system change and system improvements. The Healthy Futures focus area is working alongside community stakeholders to offer training and provide scholarship opportunities to the people who may not receive typical educational opportunities in the Mat-Su Borough.

For the past two and a half years, the Mat-Su Health Foundation has been a Nightingale College partner and has provided $175,000 to support 28 learners in their nursing school journey. With the Mat-Su Valley holding the state’s fastest-growing population, it was a strategic goal in their Healthy Futures focus area to work with educators, employers, and training providers in and out of the State of Alaska.

“In working to identify, meet the challenges, and build a pipeline of healthcare workers, working with Nightingale was a perfect match,” said Vandana. “With the way that our state is situated, we have a lot of out-of-state healthcare education providers that are also looking to build a strong workforce. As a result of that, there was an increased number of applicants attending Nightingale and we invited Nightingale to participate in the Mat-Su Workforce Development Network group of stakeholders who are working on building a stronger healthcare workforce in Alaska. This partnership helps ensure that we are engaged in creating a healthcare workforce pipeline and support our scholarship recipients.”

The work the Mat-Su Health Foundation is putting into their community is truly admirable and continues to change the lives of Alaskans every year. Looking ahead, the goal of the Foundation is to be the healthiest borough in Alaska through better care, healthier people, lower costs, and happier providers by 2030.

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The Mat-Su Health Foundation offers two types of scholarships to residents of the Mat-Su Borough interested in pursuing health and human services careers. Academic scholarships help defray the cost of higher education in health and human services degree programs. Vocational scholarships help pay for training and certificate programs in health and human services. Professional development scholarships help pay for capacity-building training programs.