Philanthropy Watchdog: NY Attorney General Must Require New Mega Health Foundation Board to Represent the Communities It Will Serve

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2018

Philanthropy Watchdog: NY Attorney General Must Require New Board to Represent the Communities It Will Serve

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy cites lack of diversity in proposed Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board as “concerning”

Washington, D.C. (5/23/2018) – New York will soon have the nation’s second largest health conversion foundation. With an anticipated $150 million in annual grants for the health and well-being of underserved New Yorkers, there is much at stake to ensure that the new Mother Cabrini Health Foundation (MCHF) fulfills its mission.

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) urges the New York Attorney General to mandate that the new foundation’s founding board of directors include representatives from communities it will serve.

In a formal comment submitted online to Attorney General Barbara Underwood yesterday, NCRP shared its concerns over the lack of diversity in the current board that will be tasked to oversee the assets and operation of what will become the largest foundation to serve New York state exclusively.

“Nothing for us without us”

In his comments, NCRP chief executive Aaron Dorfman notes that the MCHF board is mostly made up of white, wealthy powerful individuals from large hospital systems and corporations. He observes that there is little representation from community-based organizations and advocacy groups focused on improving health care coverage, access and affordability.

“The Foundation will be more effective at advancing strategies that lead to better outcomes for marginalized communities if the board of directors includes leadership from community-based organizations with experience and relationships in those communities,” writes Dorfman.

NCRP believes that it is important for organizations that seek to address the needs and improve outcomes for communities that are poor and underserved to be led by racially, ethnically and economically diverse boards. In its landmark “Criteria for Philanthropy At Its Best,” the D.C.-based philanthropy watchdog group recommends that foundation boards have at least five members with diverse perspectives and experiences, including representatives from communities they serve, to be truly effective.

Ensuring public benefit

Health conversion foundations are created to ensure that the public continues to benefit when nonprofit health providers are bought by for-profit companies. MCHF was created when Centene Corporation purchased Fidelis Care.

“The public has an interest in the over $3 billion in assets accumulated by Fidelis Care that are destined for the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation,” says Dorfman in the submitted comments. “And the board of directors who oversee those assets should better reflect the public.”  

The full text of the letter to Attorney General Underwood is available on


About NCRP

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy amplifies the voice of nonprofits and the communities they serve in the philanthropic sector. Through research and advocacy, it works to ensure that grantmakers and donors contribute to the creation of a fair, just and equitable world. Learn more at


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