Terri Donlin Huesman, Executive Vice President Osteopathic Heritage Foundations

Congratulations on your recent promotion! Tell me what you like best about the work you do.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of working to advance health and quality life in central and southeastern Ohio, and advancing osteopathic medicine in Ohio and across the country.  From the beginning, the Foundations’ approach has been proactive, strategic and with intent.  This approach has allowed us to identify significant and/or emerging community needs and work collaboratively with agencies best suited to address the identified issues.  What I like best – many things, including the opportunity to work diverse groups of individuals and agencies:  nationally, and in Appalachian, rural and urban areas. 

The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation is one of the largest in central Ohio. Tell me about the history of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations - how was the original funding obtained to populate the foundation? 

The “heritage” of the foundations come from owning and operating a hospital system in central and southeastern Ohio, Doctors Hospital and Doctors Hospital of Nelsonville, respectively, which served as training sites for osteopathic physicians.  The Foundation structure has been in existing since the early 1960’s, and in the early 1990s the Boards determined that the communities could be served through philanthropic organizations committed to improving health and quality of and advancing osteopathic medicine. 

In 1998 the Foundations’ Boards approved the Doctors Hospital and Doctors Hospital of Nelsonville asset sale to OhioHealth, a large highly respected non-profit health care system.  From the asset sale, there was an influx of funds into the existing foundation structure.  The Osteopathic Heritage Foundations includes two separately incorporated foundations: the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville.

What is your funding focus today?

The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life in the community through education, research, and service consistent with our osteopathic heritage.  We advance this mission through strategic funding priorities and initiatives, including primary care and research on pressing health issues, healthy aging, healthy food access, behavioral health, access to oral health care, among others.  The Foundations website is a good place to look for current funding priorities (http://www.osteopathicheritage.org).

We also have other funding partnership, including capital improvement grants with The Columbus Foundation, Signature Impact Funding, and community leadership funding.

You have a broader geographical funding area than most central Ohio funders.  I know you have done great work in Appalachia and other areas. Tell me about the counties in Ohio you support and why that broad support is important to you.

The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville’s service area includes ten (10) counties in southeastern Ohio, and it funds primarily community health and quality of life initiatives.  The Nelsonville Foundation has many funding partnerships in the region, including the Rocky Community Improvement Fund, the 317 Board (local ADAMH) serving Athens, Hocking and Vinton counties, and Komen Columbus. 

We are part two Appalachian funder networks:  the Appalachian Ohio Funders Network (focused on Ohio’s Appalachian counties) and Appalachia Funders Network (focused on five states in central Appalachia).   Since we don’t have offices in the region, it’s important that we are connected through various networks. That said, we spend a lot of time in the region – meeting our partners and grantees where the work is happening.

How can a nonprofit be considered for your Signature Impact Initiative Funding? Are there deadlines for this support?

While the mission and vision of organizations receiving a Signature Impact Initiative funding award are different, each shares important characteristics: a history of high performance, effectively serving some of the most vulnerable populations; a clear and sustainable plan for building on success; and positioned to successfully expand and strengthen essential health and social services. These are considered through an invitation to submit. 

Do you have grant making deadlines?

Generally, the Foundations don’t accept unsolicited proposals, rather, we proactively approach partners to work in areas of our funding focus.

Tell me about your investments in Community Leadership programming.

For a number of years, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville has supported the Leadership Athens, a program of the Athens County Foundation.  Each year, emerging and seasoned leaders explore economic, political, social and cultural landscape through discussions of current issues and conversations with community leaders.  This is a great partnership with the Athens County Foundation – promoting community leadership and stewardship. 

 Where can someone interested in approaching you for support go for more information?

More information, and to sign-up to receive our electronic communications, please go to our website at www.osteoapthicheriage.org