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Build Back Better

We believe that we can and must build back our safety net systems to be better than they were before COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our communities, our workplaces, and our families. The pandemic is laying bare the historic disinvestment in public health and social safety net systems as well as the stark inequities in our society. Our safety net sector is experiencing a uniquely stressful moment as demand for safety net services skyrockets, while long-term funding for these critical resources remains at risk. As we continue through these times of uncertainty, we are all are anxious to return to the normal life we knew before.

Yet, at HealthSpark we wonder- is this the push we need to create a better normal? As we pick up the pieces of our economy, our service sector, our homes and workplaces and schools, is there an opportunity to rethink the bigger picture?

It’s with this new vision in mind that HealthSpark is launching Build Back Better. Build Back Better is a cross-sector effort to rethink how our safety net system can and should function. Building off HealthSpark's last three years strengthening the safety net system through our Resiliency Initiative, we hope to engage a broad group of partners to think boldly about what true recovery and reconstruction means for our communities, our workplaces, our places of worship, our schools, and our safety net system.

Together, we believe we can build back better than ever before. For more on our thinking, read our case for change.

Build Back Better Timeline

We are rolling out Build Back Better in three phrases- scroll down to learn more about each phase and how to get involved.

Phase 1: Learn & Discover

In this phase, we will seek out the experiences of the safety net sector during the pandemic. What are the challenges in responding? What opportunities have arisen? What would you want to do differently? We will capture these experiences in our Build Back Better Community Survey and collate it with other available survey data. The survey is now closed and results are being collated for use by the Build Back Better Design Team.

Phase 2: Design & Plan

In this phase, community partners will receive a $3,000 stipend to serve on a Design Team to review and analyze our community and survey data, and to develop a set of guiding principles and recommendations for our community and Foundation moving forward. We will engage people from all sectors- nonprofit, government, faith, business- and from all industries- food, housing, health, legal, policy- to provide a diversity of thought and experience. The Design Teams will meet virtually over a period of roughly 6 weeks. This Phase will take place from mid-May through summer. Learn more about the Build Back Better Design Teams.

Phase 3: Share & Act

In this final phase, our Build Back Better Design Team will share their recommendations for action with the community. Our hope is that the recommendations will include concrete action steps for the Foundation  as well as recommendations that our community partners in government, businesses, and other industries will incorporate into their own reconstruction and recovery efforts. 

HealthSpark intends to align its grant funding in late summer with the Design Team’s recommendations. We will also seek to add value through our supporting channels created through the Resiliency Initiative, such as through commissioned research projects, advocacy efforts, and leadership and staff training. Learn more about our strategies for strengthening the safety net.

Stay Informed and Engaged

As we move forward, we'll be sharing our learnings with the community in a variety of ways- blog posts, virtual convenings, white papers, and other means. The best way to stay informed and up to date is through our newsletter- sign up here.