Our History

The Health Funders Partnership of Orange County was founded in 1999 by a group of 8 organizations to allow funders to leverage their resources around specific health issues in an effort to create systems change. Over the last 20 years, the Partnership has implemented successful health care programs, helped incubate new organizations, and brought together the health care community in order to find ways to advance health care for all in Orange County.

  • 1999 - Founding
  • 2000 - Diabetes I
  • 2003 - Healthy Smiles
  • 2004 - Diabetes II
  • 2004 - Safety Net
  • 2005 - AccessOC
  • 2005 - CHI OC
  • 2005 - MSI
  • 2014 - LiveHealthyOC
  • 2018 - Convening
  • 1999

    The Health Funders Partnership is founded by eight organizations
  • 2000

    Diabetes Initiative

    Launched in 2000, this program was a major milestone for Orange County health philanthropy that focused on the prevention and treatment of Type II Diabetes. A community needs assessment conducted by the Health Funders Partnership in 1999 found Type II Diabetes to be one of the most pressing health challenges in Orange County at the time.

    Phase I included a total of $2.4 million that was granted to four collaborative projects. In this phase, over 16,000 individuals received direct care for Type II Diabetes, 100% of county public school nurses were trained to screen children for Type II Diabetes, and 5,471 5th – 8th grade children were screened. This phase also included an outreach campaign in the Vietnamese community that resulted in screening of over 6,000 individuals and educational training for 236 physicians.

  • 2003

    Healthy Smiles

    Another unmet urgent need identified by the Health Funders’ Community Needs Assessment from 1999 was dental care for children. As a result, the Health Funders worked with other entities to help incubate Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County.

    The Partnership helped retain consultants to develop a community pediatric dental program focusing on prevention, education and treatment.

    Since Healthy Smiles’ inception, the average age of children at their first visit to the dentist has dropped from 5 years to 2 years in Orange County

  • 2004

    Diabetes Initiative Phase II

    Launched in 2004, the second phase of the Diabetes Initiative focused on fitness and nutrition for kids. In this phase, approximately $550,000 was granted to six organizations.

    Physical activity programs were implemented by grantees in 750 elementary school classrooms, healthy cafeteria food options were provided in two elementary schools and one hospital, and leadership training was provided to residents in several communities to empower them to advocate for change in the built environment, enforce joint use agreements, and make playgrounds and parks safe.

  • 2004

    Safety Net Coalition

    In 2004, the Health Funders Partnership was asked to address the lack of a strong health care safety net in the county.

    The Health Funders established the Safety Net coalition that initially focused on four major initiatives:

    • Creation of a specialist physician network
    • Provision of insurance for every child
    • Increased funding to the county to support health and mental health services
    • Development of an advocacy program to increase support for safety net services and providers
  • 2005


    Access OC was launched in 2005 through the work of the Health Funders’ Safety Net Coalition to improve access to specialty care for the safety net population.

    In 2007, Access OC implemented of a free, out-patient surgery program modeled after Operation Access. By adding specialist capacity to community clinics, Access OC created a network of specialists to see publicly funded and uninsured patients

    Access OC was also to establish an eConsult system harnessing health information technology to provide secure, web-based health information exchange in order to improve communication between primary care physicians and specialists.

    Today, Access OC is part of the Illumination Foundation

  • 2005

    Community Health Initiative of Orange County (CHI OC)

    CHI OC was created with the help of the Health Funders in 2005 as part of the Health Funders’ Safe Net Coalition’s work.

    In 2006, CHI OC began operations and joined the statewide California Children’s Health Initiative (CCHI) coalition and enrollments began through CHI OC at the end of 2006.

    Today, CHI OC continues to reach out into the community to locate children in need of health care. They use a case management model that follows children through the establishment of a medical/dental home, removes barriers to care, and ensures that these children retain health care coverage. This model has dramatically increased the retention of children’s health insurance coverage and is teaching families the importance of preventive care.

  • 2005

    Medical Services Initiative

    In 2005, as another piece of the Health Funders’ Safety Net Coalition work, the Health Funders worked the Health Care Agency of Orange County to apply for and receive a $51 million federally funded grant over three years to help provide health care to the uninsured population. The grant was The County of Orange Health Care Agency Medical Services Initiative (MSI) program, which provided essential medical care for nearly 22,000 low-income, uninsured adults annually.

    The program covered primary and preventative health services, and all enrollees had a “medical home” with access to over 2,000 specialty physicians as well as major hospitals. The program reduced emergency room visits by 61%, and an expanded electronic health information system, MSIConnect, connected hospital emergency departments, over 300 emergency physicians, and 14 community clinics.

  • 2014


    In 2014, the Health Funders launched a partnership with the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers and the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and its Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine to improve health and wellness in community health centers and clinics through integrative health.

    Working in seven community clinics across Orange County, the goal of the program was to transform the culture, practice and care delivery models of participating clinics serving the underserved from a disease-based management model to a sustainable integrated health approach centered on creating a true community of health and wellness.

    Practices included group medical visits, nutritional workshops, and introductions to holistic health solutions like yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, and meditation. The program aimed to create a culture of wellness by improving health outcomes, reducing chronic disease, and equipping patients with the knowledge and tools for self-care.

    At the end of the first three years of the program, clinical results demonstrated that overall patients experienced a:

    • Mean 6% reduction in A1c levels
    • 39% reduction in severe pain level
    • Average BMI reduction of 1.5%, where 64% of participants lost weight
  • 2018

    HFPOC convenes Creating a Healthy and Resilient Orange County