Grant Funding for Programs that Address Social Determinants of Health
Identifying funding sources is critical to sustaining programs that address social determinants of health (SDOH). To review potential funding agencies, associations, and organizations, see Funders of Rural Programs in the Rural Community Health Toolkit. RHIhub’s Online Library also provides a list of active and inactive funding opportunities related to SDOH.
Many rural programs rely on grant funding from federal agencies, regional commissions and agencies, and philanthropic organizations in order to sustain programs that address SDOH. Some grant programs focus on specific SDOH, such as transportation or housing, while others fund grantees that are addressing multiple SDOH.
Examples of Federal Agencies that Fund Rural SDOH Programs
- The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy within the Health Resources and Services Administration funds rural programs across the country to improve access to quality healthcare services.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers many grant programs that address SDOH, including the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program. Rural grantees have focused on issues that include neighborhood infrastructure, food access, and access to opportunities to increase physical activity.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds investments in rural affordable housing and housing quality initiatives, such as the Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Program.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Education all provide funding for rural transportation systems. The Rural Transportation Toolkit describes specific federal grant programs that support rural communities, including the Federal Transit Administration's Formula Grants for Rural Areas – 5311.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is a key funder of community development initiatives in rural areas. For example, the Rural Economic Area Partnership Program funds rural revitalization programs to foster rural economic activity.
Examples of Regional Commissions and Agencies that Fund Rural SDOH Programs
- The Appalachian Regional Commission offers funding to promote economic development, education, healthcare access, and physical infrastructure in distressed Appalachian communities.
- Area Health Education Centers help to train future and current rural health professionals, addressing the educational and access needs of rural communities. For example, the Alaska Center for Rural Health and Health Workforce offers K-12 pipeline programming in health career education.
Examples of Foundations and Nonprofit Organizations that Fund Rural SDOH Programs
Many foundations and nonprofit organizations provide funding or other resources to help sustain rural programs that focus on SDOH. Some foundations focus on a specific SDOH, such as education, while others broadly fund investments in rural health and well-being. For an overview of rural philanthropy and strategies for establishing partnerships with philanthropies, see the Rural Philanthropy Toolkit.
- Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide community benefits to address identified community needs, which include a range of SDOH. In rural communities, community benefits provided by Critical Access Hospitals can fund community building efforts that address SDOH.
- Health conversion foundations, which are formed from the conversion of a nonprofit hospital to a for-profit corporation, can also be important sources of SDOH funding for rural communities.
- Community foundations, which are public organizations who provide funds to specific geographic communities, are major supporters of rural SDOH investments.
- National and regional foundations, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and the Ford Family Foundation, have a special interest in rural SDOH.