What a Foundation Restructuring Plan Means for Grantseekers in West Texas

Downtown El Paso, TX. photo: Joseph Sohm/shutterstock

Downtown El Paso, TX. photo: Joseph Sohm/shutterstock

The Paso del Norte Foundation (PDNF) and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) have been two separate but interconnected entities for the past five years. The original funder here is the Health Foundation, dating back to 1995, when Providence Memorial Hospital was sold to Tenet Healthcare Corporation. With a focus on West Texas and Southern New Mexico, this health legacy funder has been awarding grants for all sorts of health-related issues, including air quality, youth, early childhood development, aging population, healthy eating, exercise, tobacco prevention, alcohol control and mental health.

Then in 2013, the Health Foundation established a brand-new public charity, PDNF, to support philanthropic goals in the region. Over the years, PDNF’s main role has been to accept and manage donations, making it more of a resource for potential donors than nonprofit grantseekers. But now, this relationship has changed, thanks to a restructuring plan that makes the private Health Foundation a supporting organization of the independent PDNF.

So what does this mean to nonprofits that operate in this region?

Well, to start, this restructuring sounds like good news for local nonprofits, because it is allowing the Health Foundation to expand partnerships with other funders and also increase its grantmaking. The role of PDNF will stay largely the same and focus on donors, but the restructuring also promises to boost its mission to increase regional philanthropy and give donors more choice in how they give. Both foundations will maintain their existing names, but now, they’ll be sharing the same staff, leader and overall support.

Hector Retta, incoming Chair of the Paso del Norte Foundation and immediate past Vice-Chair of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, said:

This change creates greater operating efficiencies for both foundations sharing executive, program and development staff as well as administrative, financial and investment support. It will also create an effective platform from which to grow philanthropy in the region, something we want to do for future generations.

Sharon Butterworth, chair of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, said:

While the structure is new, the Health Foundation will maintain its name, mission, purpose and all of the responsibilities that we have today. We look forward to continuing our leadership and grantmaking in our five priority areas: healthy eating and active living, tobacco and alcohol control, mental health and emotional well-being, healthy kids and health leadership. Our mission is to promote health and prevent disease in the region and we look forward to having greater resources to do this.

Something else interesting to note about this restructuring plan is that PDNF will offer opportunities that go beyond only health in the region. In addition to health, the foundation is also interested in education, economic development, and quality of life in the Paso del Norte region. This means more topics of interest for local donors to give toward, and a larger pool of local nonprofits considered for grants. There are currently no open PDNF requests for proposals, but stay tuned.

The Health Foundation has approximately $241.7 million in assets, and PDNF has an additional $5.5 million in assets. Also of note, the Fundación Paso del Norte para la Salud y Bienestar, which invests in nonprofits in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, is a third partner in this family of foundations.