Sí Texas Project to boost healthcare in Rio Grande Valley

By Rebecca "Becca" Brune, Vice President of Strategic Planning & Growth

When Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM) approved a funding alternatives strategic initiative last April, we shifted our operational model quite dramatically. Prior to that time, MHM's single revenue source came from its one-half ownership of the Methodist Healthcare System (MHS) – the largest health care system in South Texas. This ownership seat provided the organization a pool of money to dedicate to its own owned and operated programs, and to serve as a source of funding to like-minded nonprofits with a similarly-focused mission of providing quality health care to the uninsured or underinsured.

The ability to seek funding beyond what our ownership of MHS provides us meant that MHM could now seek out alternate sources of funding to address the severe lack of health care services to a large population of South Texans and have a stronger impact on population health outcomes. Now over a year since the organization's board of directors first approved the initiative, we're pleased to see our grant-seeking efforts being realized.

On Sep. 17, at the Social Innovation Fund Convening in Washington, DC, the Corporation for National and Community Service named MHM among one of seven new grant awards. The Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a key White House initiative and program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) was created in 2009. MHM is counted in the fund's fifth class of grantees and is the only faith-based organization in the nation to receive an award.

Through SIF, MHM was awarded $10 million to serve as an intermediary. The project, being referred to a Sí Texas: Social Innovation for a Healthy South Texas, will support integrated behavioral health models to stimulate improvements in behavioral health and chronic disease in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy, Kenedy, Brooks, Jim Hogg, Zapata, Duval, Jim Wells, Kleberg and Webb counties.

In accordance with SIF's model, MHM will match every federal dollar 1-to-1 in cash and then select nonprofit organizations, or subgrantees, through an open process for awards which will range from $250,000 to $2 million per year for up to five years. These grant awards are intended to leverage additional cash match 1:1 from nonfederal funding sources.

The request for proposals is available at MHM.org/SíTexas. On Nov. 11, MHM will host a press conference in McAllen to officially announce the project.