Conrad N. Hilton Foundation: Grants for Global Health

OVERVIEW: The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation devotes millions of dollars a year to global health programs. Currently, it addresses children impacted by HIV/AIDS, blindness prevention, safe water, and multiple sclerosis.

IP TAKE: The foundation is proactive in its grantmaking and likes to give big grants — usually over $1 million — to big organizations with established track records. 

PROFILE: Conrad N. Hilton, founder of the Hilton hotel chain, established the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in 1944. In his will, Conrad Hilton asked that his charity prioritize children. "For they in their innocence," Hilton explained, "[are] the repositories of our hopes for the upward progress of humanity." Despite its current health-related priority areas, grant seekers should note that they change often. The foundation invests in safe water, young children affected by AIDS/HIV, avoidable blindness, and multiple sclerosis.

Hilton's Children Affected by HIV and AIDS program focuses on "[i]mproving early childhood development outcomes for young children affected by HIV and AIDS." Having completed phase I of investments in this area, phase II of the program seeks to develop "[s]calable models for promoting responsive care and stimulation of [young children], even though growing evidence identifies the first 1,000 days as most sensitive for socio-emotional, language, cognitive development and physical development." This program's approach seeks to strengthen approaches to improving caregiving and early learning opportunities; supports civil society and government systems and networks; and building and disseminating evidence to improve practice and policy. This is a five-year strategy. 

Hilton's Avoidable Blindness program supports organizations working in Mali, Niger and Tanzania, while its cataract-related grants are awarded to organizations working across Africa. Its strategic approach includes eliminating trachoma and improving access to cataract surgery. 

Its Multiple Sclerosis program seeks to improve quality of life and a cure for those who live with multiple sclerosis, while its Safe Water program accelerates "[t]he coverage of reliable access to safe and affordable water services."

Hilton's grants range from about $400,000 to upward of $2.5 million, and typically fund large, established organizations. Hilton does not accept unsolicited grant proposals. Instead, it has a policy of cultivating long-term projects with organizations with which it is familiar.


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