Dr. Ann Manley
Executive Director, Dr. P. Phillips Foundation
Executive Director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
Ms. Manley: One of our favorite projects at the Dr. Phillips Foundation in Orlando, Florida, is Shepherd’s Hope, which provides health care to the uninsured. I’m proud to serve on its board of directors, and I believe it’s a model many donors could use in other communities.
Shepherd’s Hope has had the hand of a higher power involved from the beginning. The original idea came six years ago when Dr. William S. “Bill” Barnes, senior pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando, preached a now-famous sermon. He laid out his vision for having the church found a medical clinic to serve the area’s uninsured.
In Orlando, one in five persons has no health insurance, a higher proportion than that of Florida as a whole or the United States. Shepherd’s Hope’s assistance to this population was greatly aided by a Florida law that grants immunity from malpractice lawsuits to medical professionals who volunteer in programs that provide health care to the poor.
The first clinic opened in 1997 at a local high school, with St. Luke’s United Methodist Church serving as the faith community sponsor and Health Central, a hospital on the west side of Orlando, as the hospital sponsor. The clinic provides free medical care using an all-volunteer health care staff. Its success led to the decision in 1998 to create Shepherd’s Hope as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. This arrangement provides several benefits. Most importantly, it moved the organization out of St. Luke’s itself and allowed the program to replicate by attracting other faith communities to serve as sponsors. The goal is to be as ecumenical as possible.
What is a sponsoring church’s responsibility? First, it must develop an advisory committee to oversee its health center. It also must appoint a volunteer associate medical director-a part-time position-to oversee health care services. Then the committee hires a health care manager who becomes an employee of Shepherd’s Hope. The manager recruits volunteers who will certify patients as eligible, sort through the pharmacy, play with children while they are waiting for their parents, and so forth. The committees are also responsible for all daily operations of the health center. The church also participates in fundraising to support its center’s operation. The goal is that each church will contribute up to $10,000 a year toward the operation of the clinic it sponsors.
Today there are six centers, most open one night a week, some two nights. The program’s medical partners are the local hospitals who donate radiology, laboratory, and specialty services. They have a strong incentive to become involved: When people without health insurance get sick, they go to hospital emergency rooms for free treatment. Hospitals are eager to find ways these non-emergency patients can find help elsewhere.
Shepherd’s Hope also works to provide its clients with medication. It obtains physician samples and has also developed relationships with many of the vendors themselves. In just 2001, it was able to provide patients $218,000 worth of pharmaceuticals.
In addition to the sponsoring churches and hospitals, Shepherd’s Hope has a central office, which is responsible for developing the partnerships with hospitals, schools, congregations, and any governmental agencies. (The program receives no direct government funds.) The central office also administers all the financial resources and oversees all regulatory components of the program-permits, inspections, biohazardous waste, and the pharmacy. It also provides overall direction and support for the volunteers; medical personnel who volunteer must be registered and have their background screened.
Five members of the central office staff are paid. Thanks to a grant from the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Shepherd’s Hope was able to hire a full-time executive director who is an absolute dynamo.
Patient costs have fluctuated. They were very low in the beginning because of the lack of paid staff, but as clinics were added, costs have gone up. These costs are in the process of going down again as the clinics become established, because Shepherd’s Hope is now able to spread the costs better. The goal is to keep costs to $33.33 per patient.
The number of new patients seen each year is also up. So far, the program has seen a total of 5,439 patients. Shepherd’s Hope is able to keep costs low and see so many patients thanks to the incredible number of volunteers who serve: 700 volunteers in 2001 gave 10,850 volunteer hours, valued at $600,800.
Most of the people Shepherd’s Hope sees are adults. Some are seniors new to the area who lack a medical home, but the goal is to not see seniors. Some children also come, but Shepherd’s Hope tries to have them referred to the state’s Kid Care program, so they will have insurance.
Thus far the funding is 48 percent grants and awards. The balance of funds comes from fund raising events, individuals, and small groups. Shepherd’s Hope does have two major fundraising events; in 2001 these affairs raised $80,000. That figure doubled in 2002. Grant sources include a local initiatives funding partners program with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that the Dr. Phillips Foundation set in motion, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, the Magruder Foundation, A. Friends Foundation, Universal Studios, the Susan B. Komen Foundation, and the Eckerd Family Foundation.
Shepherd’s Hope has received a lot of recognition, including a Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneurship Award. I’m pleased other people are looking at this model and recognizing its potential for replication. I’d be happy to discuss it further with any donor interested in learning more.
Mr. Thorpe: There are a number of problems with K-12 education, and many levels at which those problems can be addressed. When the Murdock Charitable Trust decided to get involved with this issue, we felt we could only do one or two things well; so we decided to focus on what we do best-science.
We targeted high school science teachers. Our vision was to change the culture of the classroom, to establish an environment where teachers can teach with confidence and handle the subject matter in a way that makes it exciting, contagious, and ultimately irresistible to the students.
We decided in 1990 to collaborate on a program called Partners in Science, which originated at the Research Corporation, a private foundation in Arizona, and is now administered by Murdock. The basics of the program are simple: We facilitate and fund the partnering of a high school science teacher with a researcher at a university or science research center for two full summers of collaborative research. We only place one requirement on the teacher-conduct basic scientific research on a high level with individuals whom other leading scientists view as worthy of support.
The results have been way beyond what we expected. In every case, and we know this because we have benchmarks to measure the results, teachers return to the classroom offering instruction that is more hands-on, more oriented toward real-world problem solving, and much more interesting for the kids. A 1998 study done on the program showed a significant enrollment jump in those high schools with teachers who went through the Partners in Science program. Another study is due to be conducted in 2003.
We’re especially pleased with the change the teachers themselves undergo. They return to their schools not as teachers who don’t do what it is they’re teaching, but as real scholars, researchers, and coauthors of national papers. Many partners through the years have commented that the Partners in Science Program is the greatest program they have ever been involved with and that their experience in the program has had a significant impact on their teaching.
The program has not been limited to a few schools and teachers. Since its beginning in 1990, Murdock has funded 245 partnerships-that is, 245 different teachers-in the five Pacific Northwest states where we make grants: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The teachers have come from 167 different high schools and have worked with 192 different mentors employed in 35 research settings. This level of cooperation between the high school teachers and the universities has helped to establish bridges between the high schools and university communities. For instance, it is very common for the mentor to visit the teacher’s school and give a talk about his research. Several teachers have stayed in contact with their mentors working co-authoring papers on the research they conducted. One scientist worked with two past partners to modify a collegiate-level curriculum design for use in the high school classroom and then put on workshops for other teachers across the region.
Moreover, beyond the teachers in the program and their students, the schools as a whole have benefited. The teachers who come through the program and return to their high schools spread their excitement for learning and knowledge with other science teachers, encouraging their colleagues to look at different ways to teach their disciplines.
We help teachers transfer what they’ve learned from their two summers of researching by allowing each to apply for a grant that they then may use back in their school to improve classroom instruction. The trust gives $2,000 outright for the teachers to use. But it will also match 2-to-1 every dollar the school gives the teacher for the same purpose. So a teacher may walk away with up to about $8,000 for the classroom. Teachers have used the money for everything from upgrading lab equipment to engaging students in hands-on research.
Principals and school superintendents have been very impressed by and supportive of the teachers who take part in this program. In nearly every case where it was requested, they have provided additional funds to the teachers to improve classroom teaching-and, again, we match these funds $2 for every $1 the school gives.
The overall cost for the program, not including the supplemental grant, is $14,000 per scholarship. Over the past 13 years, we’ve put about $3.4 million into the program.
Finally, let me add that this program could not have succeeded if our efforts had not gone way beyond grantmaking. We hired a retired science teacher who went through the program, and each summer he serves as a circuit-rider. His job is to visit each teacher and mentor to make sure things are going well and there are no questions to be answered. He also meets with the principals of the teachers’ schools to alert them that at the end of the two-year program, the teacher will be asking for matching funds. This allows the principal time to budget the money so it is there when the request comes in.
In terms of dollars, this program is not a major part of our grantmaking, but I would say it’s probably our most labor-intensive program. It’s also the most fulfilling. High school science teachers, we have learned, are a wonderful group to work with, and we encourage you to consider working with ones in your area. In fact, we’d be happy to help any foundation that wants to set up a similar program.