Following a final pitch from five finalists, hours of deliberation and months of one-on-one coaching, the Alliance Healthcare Foundation board of directors was faced with the question: “How can we accelerate the most good for our community, given the opportunities presented by five strong and deserving candidates?”
Remarkably, the board this year was able to double its investment
for this funding cycle and award two $1-million milestone-based
Innovation Initiative (i2) grants to Project New
Village and Urban Restoration Counseling Center, both based
in San Diego. Each nonprofit organization will be supported with
continued mentorship and incubation, and up to $1 million in a
Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s mission is to advance health and wellness for the most marginalized communities in our region. With the i2 Challenge Grant, the foundation seeks to close equity gaps and invest in transformative ideas that can achieve long-term, sustainable, positive community change.
“We don’t always get an opportunity to accelerate two incredible solutions that we feel will advance our mission meaningfully,” said Sarah Lyman, executive director of Alliance Healthcare Foundation. “By its very nature, the Innovation Initiative is a high risk, high potential reward. We’ve had years where it was more difficult to determine how $1 million would really move the needle with the ideas presented.
"We’ve had other i2 cohorts – this being one of them – where
the solutions proposed by the i2 finalists were so strong, we
struggled to make a decision out of the recognition that more than one
solution presented an opportunity to meaningfully advance our mission
in significant ways. I’m thrilled that we made the decision to support
two community-grown and community-led solutions that we hope will
achieve scale and success for the communities they serve."
Said Killu Sanborn, Alliance board trustee and chairperson: “This was a deeply rewarding experience, and we are so grateful to all the candidates for their clear passion and commitment to making the world a better place."
The 2022 i2 program is essentially an incubator program that includes 12 months of entrepreneurial education and customized mentoring through a partnership between the Alliance Healthcare Foundation and global business accelerator Nex Cubed. Based on relationships formed and progress made by the candidates during the program, there are clear pathways already identified to help move the awardees into the next phase of i2 support.
2022 i2 Challenge Grant Awardees:
Project New Village – This project is a manifestation of decades of community organizing. It is truly a long-held vision and resident-led, community-rooted project that will become a centralized hub in a disinvested community for supporting wellness and resiliency through:
"The news of the Alliance Healthcare Foundation Challenge grant
decision has given me a new sense of empowerment, authority, and
inspiration," said Diane Moss, managing director of Project New
Village. "In the words of songwriters Gene McFadden and John
Whitehead, ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.'"
Urban Restoration Counseling – This community-led organization provides mental health services to people of color by people of color.
“We are thankful and excited to be chosen as a recipient of Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s Innovation Initiative Challenge Grant," stated the Urban Restoration Counseling Executive Team. "Thank you for sharing our commitment to disrupting the cycle of intergenerational trauma in communities of color."
Out of more than 60 proposals, 25 organizations were chosen to enter the i2 educational cycle—a guided program coordinated by Innovation Partner Nex Cubed. After presenting early business models in April, 10 organizations were selected to continue their i2 journey and work on validating their solutions with customers and partners to demonstrate early traction and product-market fit.
In June, the 10 organizations gave in-person presentations to
Alliance Healthcare Foundation committee members, community resident
leaders and Nex Cubed, from which five finalists were selected. Over
the remaining six months, the finalists received grant funding from
the Alliance Healthcare Foundation as well as one-on-one coaching from
Nex Cubed advisors who had been matched to each finalist.
“We are impressed with the work and progress each of the finalists has made. Along the way, some of them pivoted their business model for greater impact and success, and some discovered new ways to think bigger in terms of scale and sustainability,” said Nick Phillips, i2 program director of Nex Cubed.
While two winners were ultimately selected, the Alliance Healthcare
Foundation intends to find other ways to support the other three
finalists in their growth and development.
2022 i2 Finalists:
“Our commitment to progress calls us to be bold,” Sanborn said.
“Today a significant portion of our budget is deployed toward seeking,
seeding and scaling innovation. In our view, innovations must reduce
costs, improve quality, and increase access to health and wellness
with an emphasis on our most marginalized communities.”
About The Innovation Initiative (i2)
The i2 funding challenge seeks market-based and/or transformational
systems-change solutions with the potential to improve access, quality
and health outcomes; increase capacity; reduce costs for the most
systemically marginalized and under-resourced populations in San Diego
and/or Imperial counties. Here is more information.
About Alliance Healthcare Foundation
We work to advance health and wellness for the most vulnerable in
San Diego and Imperial counties through collaborative funding,
convening and advocacy. Here is more information.
About Nex Cubed
Nex Cubed is a global accelerator that invests in diverse founders
that are solving problems that matter. We provide early-stage capital,
corporate relationships, and access to a global ecosystem that
empowers startups, investors, corporates, and governments to bring new
technologies to market, help rising companies scale, and provide paths
to liquidity – the power of three. Here is more information.