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The Collaboration Conference 2015

November 16–17, 2015

Houston, Texas

C6 Case Study Conversation: Houston Funders Pool Resources to Strengthen the Healthcare Safety Net

Monday, November 16, 2015 at 2:45 PM–4:30 PM Central Time (US & Canada)
Arboretum 5 (Second Level)

Join this conversation to understand the mechanics of a co-funding initiative designed to foster place-based, systemwide change. Hear two grantmakers candidly discuss how a group of collaborating funders’ inability to agree on goals and implementation plans ultimately hampered their ability to make a lasting impact.

In 2007, amid discussions among local funders about ways to better support the health care safety net in Harris County, Texas, an assessment of the state of primary care in the county revealed the fragmentation of the health care system. By 2009, a group of Houston-based grantmakers decided to tackle this problem by pooling funds to promote closer cooperation among community providers, particularly federally qualified health centers that serve all patients regardless of their ability to pay. The Community Clinic Funders’ Collaborative grew to include 12 funders, 20 community clinics and five major health institutions, with the Harris County Healthcare Alliance, a membership organization, serving as the key convener and intermediary grants manager. Members of the collaborative invested $9.3 million; however, each funder made autonomous grants (with distinct goals, timelines and reporting requirements) to the HCHA to further their own visions for the collaborative. Some 21 projects were funded, of which seven still are ongoing. However, the collaborative was unable to bring about the kind of countywide system change its participants envisioned. Members of the collaborative learned about the need to better align their expectations, dollars and grant terms, and to invest significant resources in strong project design and coordination, oversight, and communications.


Collaboration Fast Facts:

Primary Points Of Contact

Cullen , Geiselman

Session Designers


Cullen Geiselman, The Cullen Trust for Health Care

Cullen K. Geiselman chairs the board of trustees of the Cullen Trust for Health Care, a support organization founded in 1978 to grant financial assistance to institutions providing direct healthcare, conducting health-related research, or training healthcare providers in the greater Houston area. In addition to her stewardship of the Trust, Dr. Geiselman works with her family on business matters and serves on the Board of Directors of the Houston Zoo, the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Bat Conservation International, Blaffer Art Museum at University of Houston, Houston Advanced Research Center, and the Houston Parks Board. Dr. Geiselman holds a BA in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University and a MA and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Columbia University. Her dissertation research focused on seed dispersal and pollination by bats and she has coauthored a book entitled Seed Dispersal by Bats in the Neotropics. 

Terry Bell, Rockwell Fund, Inc

Mr. Bell was born in Stamford, Texas, August 19, 1945.  He attended Texas Tech from 1963-67, graduating with a B.A. in government and a commission through the Air Force ROTC program.  Deferring active duty to attend law school, he received his J.D. from the University of Texas in 1970.  He served as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate and Staff Judge Advocate for four years, then attended The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D. C., where he received an LLM with an emphasis in taxation. From 1975 to 2003 he practiced law in Houston and Dallas.

In 1977 he began his association with Rockwell Fund, Inc., and was elected a Trustee and Vice President in 1980. In 1994 he was elected President and became a full time employee in 2003.  

Peter Long, Blue Shield of California Foundation (moderator)

Peter Long, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. He leads the Foundation in its mission to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. In 2013 alone, the Foundation provided $34 million to 326 organizations across California, making it one of the state’s largest grantmaking institutions. Prior to joining Blue Shield of California Foundation, Dr. Long served in leadership roles at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and The California Endowment. Dr. Long also served as the director of development and programs for the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley in San Jose, before assuming his position there as executive director. Previously, in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Long was a legislative analyst for the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network during the country’s transition to democracy. Outside of his role as CEO, Dr. Long is actively involved in multiple healthcare and professional organizations, serving on the Board of Directors for Grantmakers in Health and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and the Governance Board at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. He was one of the lead organizers of the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge, which raised more than $170 million for veterans and military families. Dr. Long received a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University; a master’s in health policy from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health; and his doctorate in health services from the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently lives in Orange County with his wife and three children.

Session Materials