Donaghue Foundation

Ask the Trustees

With so many staff transitions this year, should we anticipate changes in the direction of the foundation or in specific grant programs that are being offered?

You are right that there’s been a lot of staff changes during 2021 – two retirements, hiring a Program Coordinator, and a new President (as of 2022). With these changes, we envision the Donaghue staff working on new operational processes to reinforce the work of the Foundation. However, the overall direction of the foundation and its grant programs will not be changing in the near term.

We have recently devoted ample time to reviewing the Foundation’s offerings. In 2019, we put Another Look, our program to fund research to improve the health of older adults in care facilities, on hold to conduct a landscape analysis of the topic and then made changes based on what we learned. Earlier this year we assessed our R3-Making Research Relevant & Ready grant program and made modifications to better meet the needs of our grantees as consider applying for these funds. We also conducted a full review of the materials associated with the Another Look and Greater Value Portfolio for their 2021 cycle including a review of the eligible topics for each. These reflective processes and the evidence they provided are the key reasons we feel confident in the efficacy of our current program offerings.

More fundamentally, during the summer and fall of 2020 staff and trustees worked with the Foundation’s Policy Advisory Committee to review our mission, vision, and guiding principles. We agreed that the foundation’s core purpose as expressed in our vision statement was sound, and we streamlined the mission statement to better reflect our current interpretation of Ethel Donaghue’s purpose. Our guiding principles of practical benefit, engagement, inclusivity, integrity, and innovation were developed to replace the former goals and to reflect the work of the foundation in its dynamic contexts of medical research, the challenges of equitably improving health, and the broader social context in which evidence informs practice and policy.

Given the broad range of eligible topics in our existing programs, we’re confident that they can reflect cutting edge ideas in these areas of research while still serving their current function of improving health care for older adults in care facilities and supporting processes that promote needed improvement in the value we get from our health system.