New York State Health Foundation

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About Us

Who We Are

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers. We strive to be focused and purposeful in our work; establish and adhere to clear goals and strategies; and measure our progress. We are committed to making grants, but also to making a difference beyond our dollars: informing health care policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health system, serving as a neutral convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to our grantees and partners.

Priority Areas

NYSHealth concentrates its initiatives in three strategic priority areas:

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Federal health reform makes sweeping changes that affect the availability, affordability, and funding of health insurance coverage in the United States. To advance the implementation of health reform, NYSHealth is supporting a range of efforts to reach and educate consumers about their insurance options and how to enroll in and use their coverage. Learn More >

Building Healthy Communities 

To help communities become healthier, more active places, the Foundation is supporting initiatives across the State to help more New Yorkers of all ages eat healthy foods, become physically active, and have access to a range of programs that encourage healthy life choices. Learn More >

Advancing Primary Care

Given the growing demand for primary care, the need to control health care costs, and the opportunities to develop new models of care as New York implements health reform, the Foundation has identified advancing primary care as a new priority area, beginning in 2013. Learn More >


Veterans' Health

The NYSHealth Initiative for Returning Veterans and Their Families seeks to underscore that the health care, mental health, and social services issues returning veterans and their families face are not solely military issues, but public and community health issues that should be addressed by local and national government agencies, community-based organizations, and health funders. Learn More >

Special Projects Fund

Grants through our Special Projects Fund allow us to support projects that address an important health care or public health issue in the State, but are outside of our targeted priority areas. Eligible projects are coordinated interventions that take place over a specified period of time to achieve quantifiable results. Learn More >

Past priority Areas 

Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

To reverse the diabetes epidemic in New York State, the Foundation supported efforts to improve the way primary care providers manage the care of people with diabetes and the spread of effective community-based prevention programs that reach people where they live, work, and worship. Learn More >

Integrating Mental Health and Substance Use Services

NYSHealth committed $10 million over five years to improve the integration of care for people who cope with mental health and substance use conditions at the same time. This work culminated at the end of 2012, but the Foundation continues to learn from this key investment. Learn More >


The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers.

Our roots are in insurance. NYSHealth was established to receive the charitable funds resulting from the conversion of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield from a nonprofit organization to a for-profit corporation. A 2002 State statute allocated 5% of the market value of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield to create the Foundation.

A nine-member Board of Directors governs and guides NYSHealth. One-third of the Board members are appointed by New York’s Governor, one-third by the President of the State Senate, and one-third by the State Assembly Leader. Board members serve three-year renewable terms.

The Board’s search for a president and chief executive officer was concluded in 2006 with the selection of James R. Knickman, Ph.D.

In December 2006, the Foundation awarded its inaugural round of grants: $5.7 million to 23 grantees chosen from more than 600 applicants. Today, the Foundation has awarded more than 500 grants totaling more than $95 million to organizations throughout New York State.