Focusing on its three pillars of giving—Education, Human Services, and Healthcare & Medical Research—plus its flagship scholarship program, the McGowan Fund sought to ease poverty and transform lives through nearly $7.1 million in grants in 2017. The grant-making program put special emphasis on organizations demonstrating strong planning, innovation, and collaboration. From a small school devoted to children with neurological problems to a program that bolsters financial literacy for homeless adults, the Fund reached thousands of children and adults.
The Fund made these grants in its traditional six regions: Chicago, Denver metro & Eagle County, Kansas City metro, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Reno metro, and Rochester metro and Yates County. The McGowan Fellows Program provides scholarships to students in the nation’s top 10 MBA programs.
In addition, in 2017, two programs aimed at lowering obesity rates showed promise for national expansion. These include Healthy Way to Grow, inaugurated by the Fund and managed by the American Heart Association, which was adopted by 60 early childhood centers outside the Fund’s regions; and ELM (Eat Well, Love Better, Move More), a successful lifestyle program designed by Rush University’s Department of Preventive Medicine, which engaged in strategic planning for a clinical rollout in the Fund’s six regions.
The Fund itself engaged in strategic planning and review in 2017, making it an energized and reflective year for both the board and staff as the organization marched toward its 25th anniversary. “We’re pleased with the range and impact of the work we supported and grateful to our many partners,” said Diana Spencer, executive director of the Fund. “And we look forward to a terrific 25th year.”