Community Possibilities

Results Matter: A Conversation with Dr. Gary Nelson, President of Healthcare Georgia Foundation

November 16, 2021 Ann Price Season 1 Episode 16
Community Possibilities
Results Matter: A Conversation with Dr. Gary Nelson, President of Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Show Notes

I am thrilled to bring you this episode! I have known Dr. Nelson for a long time and have deep respect for his lifelong commitment to health equity. He has led Healthcare Georgia Foundation for nearly 20 years, overseeing many grantmaking initiatives including the Foundation's Two Georgia's initiative and Health Impact Investing. The Foundation is "Grounded in Science, built on Partnerships, and focused on Results."

"Results matter to those we serve." Dr. Nelson argues that although the nonprofit sector is "woefully under-resourced, we can't afford to waste a dollar. Lives are at stake." The work is too important to rely on "feel good philanthropy." More than ever, the Foundation is focused on the social determinants of health and achieving health equity.  In this conversation, we talk about the work of the Foundation, but also funders' role in the pursuit of making communities more equitable. COVID has certainly shown a light on these inequities and Gary shares how the Foundation has pivoted their funding to meet the needs of communities during the pandemic.

We also talk about the importance of evaluation and the what it takes for nonprofits and foundations to create a culture of learning. The Foundation has a long history of valuing evaluation and supporting evaluation capacity within the Foundation and among its grantees.

Episode mentioned: Episode 1: Health Equity and Maternal and Child Health with Dr. Kyrah Brown

Contact: Healthcare Georgia Foundation

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Dr. Nelson's Bio

Gary D. Nelson is President of Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Inc., a private independent foundation in Atlanta, Georgia.  Appointed in 2002, Dr. Nelson is responsible for executive management of the Foundation’s program, financial, and management operations.  Working with the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Dr. Nelson oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking program dedicated to enabling, improving and advancing the health and well-being of all Georgians.   Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Inc. was established in 1999 with an annual grantmaking program of approximately $4-5 million strategically allocated to:  1) Addressing Health Disparities; 2) Promoting Health and Preventing Disease; 3) Expanding Access to Quality Affordable and Integrated Health Services; and 4) Strengthening Health Nonprofits, Programs and Workforce.  The Foundation’s vision is health equity in Georgia, where all people attain their fullest potential for health and well-being.

 Dr. Nelson previously served as a Program Director with The California Wellness Foundation and was the Associate Director for Program Evaluation, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  At CDC, from 1986 to 1989, Dr. Nelson was chief of the Evaluation Research Section, Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 

 His Board service has included Grantmakers in Health, Georgia State Board of Public Health, Council of Foundations Diversity and Philanthropy Project, IOM Roundtable on Health Disparities, College of Health Sciences Advisory Board-GSU, Board of Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, Philanthropic Collaborative for a Healthy Georgia, Board of Visitors for Georgia State University’s College of Health and Human Services,&