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Rural Health Information Hub

Resources for Sustainability Planning

Rural community health programs have collaborated with schools, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), WIC sites, and other state and local agencies to develop partnerships. Some programs have established a community health consortium or steering committee in the community as a vehicle for sustainability.

By developing a consortium or committee, organizations have an opportunity to meet regularly, identify resources and capacity, and build sustainable relationships that can improve health in the community. These gatherings are also an opportunity for the program to acknowledge and thank partners for their continued support. Additionally, it is important to be aware of any staff changes in partner organizations, as such changes can affect the viability of partnerships in the long term.

Local community organizations can also serve as vital resources in many forms, such as space for trainings, transportation, financial support, and social services. Securing formal agreements with an organization may be appropriate to solidify the relationship and designate the organization's role as part of the program.

Resources to Learn More

The Community Tool Box: Toolkit 16. Sustaining the Work or Initiative
This toolkit outlines topics and questions to consider when developing sustainability plans. It also includes examples of plans for guidance.
Organization(s): University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development

The Community Tool Box: Chapter 42 - Section 1. Developing a Plan for Financial Sustainability
This chapter within the Community Tool Box provides guidance and resources for developing a plan for financial sustainability including tips on grant writing.
Organization(s): University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development

Community Health Partnerships: Tools and Information for Development and Support
Recommends how to form business and community partnerships for on-going collaboration that will strengthen health resources available in a community.
Organization(s): National Business Coalition on Health, Community Coalitions Health Institute

A Sustainability Planning Guide for Healthy Communities
This guide draws examples from CDC-funded community health programs to show how they devised their own sustainability plans and leveraged resources in the community for success. There are various resources in the guide to help structure sustainability discussions and decisions.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Communities Program
Date: 2011

Bringing the Future into Focus: A Step-by-Step Sustainability Planning Workbook
This guide walks through four steps to producing a sustainability plan. Significant emphasis is given to financial considerations and funding strategies to sustain a program after initial program funding ends.
Organization(s): Georgia Health Policy Center

The Program Sustainability Assessment Tool
This website includes tips for writing a sustainability plan, sample plans, and an online tool to rate a sustainability program.
Organization(s): Center for Public Health Systems Science, Washington University in St. Louis