Dear Friends of Mt. Sinai:
What an extraordinary year it has been for the Foundation, our grantee-partners, and the community, as our mission flourished across each of our four grantmaking areas.
MetroHealth's Nurse-Family Partnership program graduated its first class of moms, babies, and families. The Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition advocated successfully for legislation that will forever change the quality of rental housing throughout the City of Cleveland and protect children from the lifelong harms of lead poisoning. Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic opened the Health Education Campus, bringing medical, nursing, dental medicine, and physician assistant students together to learn with and from one another. And Bellefaire JCB completed construction on the Bluestone Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital, dramatically expanding access to inpatient psychiatric care in Cuyahoga County.
At the same time, Mt. Sinai has undergone changes of its own. After 18 months of learning and reflection, the Foundation in 2019 re-focused its energies on helping to drive health improvement at scale. The Foundation's ability to achieve its mission is in part the result of its history of policy change and shedding light on pressing social issues; its reputation in the community as an honest broker; its meaningful relationships with grantee-partners; its thought leadership in health philanthropy; and its nimble and action-oriented response to community needs.
Yet, as we celebrate the accomplishments of our partners and hone our strategic direction, we cannot ignore how much has changed in the twelve months since we last wrote to you about our work. A novel coronavirus has ripped through communities, killing more than 200,000 people in the United States alone and irreversibly harming hundreds of thousands of others. We are proud of Mt. Sinai's role in the creation and strategic implementation of the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund and of our $1 million grant to address COVID-19-related needs in the Jewish community. We have grappled with the killing of African Americans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, who join Tamir Rice and countless others as systemic and interpersonal racism have manifested in unconscionable acts of cruelty and violence. All the while, we have borne witness to a rapid decline in civility and mutual respect.
No declaration to you in this letter could possibly suffice, no words adequate to express our dismay.
Both the victories and tragedies of the past year have made it clear that our mission—to improve the health of Cleveland's Jewish and general communities—is predicated on the pursuit of equity and justice, that the advancement of society's disenfranchised leads to the betterment of us all.
That is why we are resolved, more than ever, to help transform community conditions to benefit those who have been historically marginalized—especially low-income people and people of color—those same people served for generations by The Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
It is in this spirit that we renew and strengthen our commitment to bring all our resources to bear to combat racism, advance equity, and ensure health and prosperity for all. We do not have all the answers. But we humbly go forth eager to listen, yearning to learn, ready to change, and charged with the responsibility to act.
As we enter our 25th year, we invite your participation, feedback, and financial support as we evolve our mission From Grantmaker to Changemaker™.