Speaking of Change…
Here’s a simple description of how grant writing used to work; nonprofit submits a grant proposal, waits a long time, receives good or bad news. In the case of good news, check comes in, staff and volunteers celebrate, a year later a report is submitted describing all the wonderful things we did with the funding, and a new grant application is then submitted.
Alas – not so much anymore. A new era of grant funding has emerged, one where foundations and the funding community are looking for more specific outcomes for their investments. Opportunities to participate in very specific initiative-based programs designed to facilitate growth and positive change in organizations are now prevalent. While there are pros and cons to this new strategy, it is the reality in which we now exist.
Thanks in large part to our visionary leader, Bebe Kleinman who believes we can do anything and everything, Doctors Care has adapted quite well to this new avenue of funding. In fact, last year the organization submitted and received funding from six different health-focused foundations for seven separate and distinct initiative based projects (in addition to many other general funding grants, for which we are extremely grateful!). So, from practice transformation to improve team infrastructure; to improving processes and documentation for behavioral health assessments, screens and referrals; to advancing patient and provider utilization of the Patient Portal; to activities focused on facilitating team based care; to integrating dental hygiene services in the clinic; to focusing on appropriate behavioral health screens and referral processes in age 0-5 patient population; to reducing food insecurities through SNAP enrollment activities – these are just some of the specific focus areas our organization is currently working towards. Make no mistake, each initiative comes with its own sets of meetings, coaches, goals, reporting, outcomes, evaluation, etc. Did I mention all this work is being accomplished by the same number of Doctors Care staff that have remained dedicated to providing quality care and services to underserved individuals in our community?
In the midst of all the project-focused work, we decided to throw in a major IT transition from a Citrix to a Microsoft RDS environment, which meant upgrading our servers in preparation for more change! The transition will create a more stable and cost effective IT platform which will support the quality patient care provided by the Doctors Care staff and volunteers (or so says our IT Director).
As I hustle (and struggle) to learn new terminologies and the technically-appropriate ways of describing all the amazing work being done, I am struck by the dedication and determination of my coworkers. Each and every individual at Doctors Care is being asked to perform the work they were hired to do a little differently – better in the long run we hope, but still – to change. While the process is more comfortable for some than others, I believe everyone at Doctors Care is dedicated to embracing the challenges and opportunities that accompany these exciting grant initiatives. They would not be here otherwise. The end result will be more access for those in need of our services, and a better experience for all who come through our doors. So, whether you choose to kiss the chaos while embracing change or not, this train at Doctors Care is moving – full speed ahead!
Barb Hanson, Development & Marketing Director