Case Study: Partners in Health
Partners in Health (PIH) is a social justice organization that provides high-quality health care globally, where Cate Oswald serves as Principal Chief Program Officer. The scale-up of PIH has often been in reaction to a trajectory of worldwide crises. From the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the global health emergencies of Ebola in West Africa and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. As an organization keenly aware of the social determinants of health, such as race, class, and other societal systems of oppression, PIH has been reflecting on power dynamics within the organization since early 2019. It decolonized its leadership structure in 2020, to ensure full representation across their global offices. It was during these deliberations that PIH received the windfall gift, and it allowed the new leadership structure to reaffirm the belief in the theory of change and work towards identifying and strengthening avenues for transformational impact.
PIH invested the financial windfall not only in ensuring programmatic gains, but simultaneously in necessary team and organizational practices. “It is because of the beautiful nature of the unrestricted ability to invest where we saw the most need, unlike most of the other funding we receive where it is helping us achieve one part of our strategic plan, or our mission, or our values,” says Catherine, speaking to the importance of trust-based funding for organizational development.
Over the past few years, PIH has built a staff wellness team, and equity, diversity, and inclusion programming across direct care delivery sites and in PIH’s University of Global Health Equity. By showcasing these developments, PIH has effectively communicated the success of the care delivery system supported by community health workers, but also draws attention to the larger mission that PIH builds towards, of universal health care. The focus on staff and leadership to better serve their mission is exemplary of how organizations are utilizing these types of gifts to invest in people and culture.