Announcing the Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund
As part of our efforts to build a more thriving Montgomery County, it is with great excitement that HealthSpark Foundation is announcing the creation of the Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund.
The Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund addresses the historical exclusion of Black leaders and Black community-serving organizations from tackling the challenges and opportunities facing Montgomery County residents. In honor of its namesake Dr. Frank E. Boston, a Black medical doctor and social entrepreneur who created a hospital and ambulance corps in Lansdale nearly a century ago, the Fund invests in emerging Black leaders in Montgomery County, supports positive storytelling of Black communities across the County, and builds community infrastructure and power in Black communities to advance justice and liberation for all County residents.
HealthSpark Foundation has committed an initial investment of $250,000 over two years to the Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund, supplementing our annual grantmaking budget. “This initial investment provides us with an opportunity to think and act differently in how we support movement building and grassroot advocacy in Montgomery County,” says Chinwe Onyekere, HealthSpark’s Director of Equity & Inclusion. “In partnership with the community, we are seeking to center equity and justice in creating a thriving safety net.”
The Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund is a direct response to what we heard from you, our community, through our listening sessions last summer. You set a community vision for becoming an anti-racist and justice-oriented safety net system, and you asked for us to be bold in our thinking about how we as a foundation can address the systemic underinvestment and disinvestment in Montgomery County's Black community. The Fund represents this clearly articulated need to direct resources, beyond and inclusive of philanthropic dollars, to the Black community in Montgomery County.
Our listening sessions last summer also established a shared principle of community, built on trusting relationships, solidarity, and equity at the center. It’s with this value in mind that HealthSpark sought to engage a Community Action Team of Black leaders to design the mission, vision, and guiding principles of the Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund.
The Community Action Team has come together since March 2021 to share experiences of being Black in Montgomery County and identify how a philanthropic fund might begin to create more opportunity, justice, and ultimately liberation for Black communities in the spirit of Dr. Boston, alongside the many efforts already underway in the community. Under the direction of Omar Woodard, a Norristown native and Vice President of Solutions with Results for America, and Ms. Onyekere, the voice of the community was amplified through this process, and the Community Action Team created a Fund that is reflective of the needs of our community.
The next phase of the Community Action Team’s work will focus on the implementation and formal launch of the Fund, including its grantmaking process and priorities. Throughout this process we want to be in dialogue with you, our community partners. To that end, we’ll be sharing our reflections and learning along the way. In the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring a blog post in collaboration with Omar Woodard. Omar will share with us his reflections on the Community Action Team and the role power-building played in the creation of the Fund. We’ll also be sharing our work in upcoming conferences and through HealthSpark’s Community of Practice events, and are eager to begin sharing information on the Fund through our Community Action Team ambassadors.
We hope that the Foundation’s investment spurs additional or aligned giving in Black communities across Montgomery County, as we know these challenges are much deeper and far-reaching than our investments alone can tackle.
Dr. Boston said, “Give me an opportunity, and I will do it.” As we embark on this journey in the creation of the Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund, we are excited to tap into his legacy- a legacy of addressing community need, entrepreneurship, leadership, and leveraging power and influence to make a positive impact.
Dr. Frank E. Boston was the founder of the Elm Terrace Hospital, later renamed the Lansdale Hospital. The sale of the Lansdale Hospital in 2001 funded the endowment for HealthSpark Foundation (then called the North Penn Community Health Foundation). Dr. Boston is relatively unknown locally despite his immense contributions to our community. HealthSpark Foundation would like to acknowledge and thank The Boston Legacy Foundation for their work to document the legacy of Dr. Boston and bring his name and contributions to a regional and national audience. For more information on Dr. Boston and efforts to share his story, please visit https://bostonlegacyfoundation.org/.