Who we are

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Our aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. We learn what works to make people’s lives healthier and improve the health care system. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, we shine a light on how to make successful change happen.

We make links between the knowledge we gain from working with those delivering health and health care and our research and analysis. Our aspiration is to create a virtuous circle, using what we know works on the ground to inform effective policymaking and vice versa.

We believe good health and health care are key to a flourishing society. Through sharing what we learn, collaborating with others and building people’s skills and knowledge, we aim to make a difference and contribute to a healthier population.

What we do

Strategic Plan 2015-2018 infographic

As the second largest endowed foundation in the UK focusing on health, we spend around £30 million a year on improving health and health care.

Our activities expand across three key work streams:

  • To improve health service delivery
  • To make health policymaking more effective
  • A healthier UK population

To meet our aims within each of these areas we plan to:

  • test innovations and spread what works
  • build skills and knowledge
  • develop and share evidence on what works and why.

Read more about our planned activities in our Strategic Plan 2015-2018.

Our values

  • We are independent
  • We collaborate to make a greater impact
  • We are informed by evidence and experience
  • We bring a spirit of constructive challenge and an open mind

A Living Wage Employer

The Health Foundation is an accredited living wage employer, which means every member of staff in our organisation earns not just the minimum wage but the real living wage. The living wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually based on the cost of living in the UK.

How we are funded

We are funded by an endowment - currently around £1 billion. This enables us to have an on-going programme of work, including making significant grants to bring about better health and health care.

The endowment began in 1998 with a one-off charitable donation of £560 million, one of the largest in UK history. The donation resulted from the sale of PPP Healthcare group, a private health insurance organisation. PPP was a mutual fund with no shareholders, and the new organisation became the PPP Foundation in 2001.

In 2003 the organisation was renamed the Health Foundation to signal its completely independent status as a grant-making charity. The Health Foundation has no connection to PPP and is accountable only to our independent board of trustees and the Charity Commission.

The size of the endowment means that we do not need to fundraise to generate income. We receive a small amount of funding from grants, commissions and from our co-ownership of the BMJ Quality and Safety journal.

We value our independence highly.