Health

Why We Focus on Health

Good health is an essential building block for a fulfilling life. Yet as Chicagoans strive to lead healthy lives, those living on low incomes increasingly face daunting issues, including lack of quality health care, depression, asthma, obesity, substance use and exposure to violence. Strengthening the physical and mental well-being of Chicagoans is essential to creating a city where all people can reach their full potential.

Our Approach

Polk Bros. Foundation's support for health programs reflects a continuing commitment to prevention and access to care. Our focus is on ensuring Chicagoans have access to the care they need, providing information that can guide their decisions and developing a collaborative system that is responsive to residents’ needs.

What We Support

To improve the health outcomes of Chicagoans, especially those affected by poverty, Polk Bros. Foundation invests in efforts that expand access to school-based and community-based preventive and primary health care.

School-Based Health Services
Providing comprehensive health education and services in schools addresses health-related issues that keep students from learning. These services also help students make informed decisions about their wellness, reduce risky behaviors and use health care services. Under our School-Based Health Services program area, we support high-quality, Chicago Public Schools-based programs focused on:

  • Health promotion and risk reduction, designed to improve the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of CPS students and connect them with follow-up physical and mental health care.
  • School-based health care, providing continuous and comprehensive physical and mental health care for CPS students and their families – in their school buildings.
  • Systems improvement and innovation, promoting inter-agency collaboration and advocacy that foster new, creative approaches, strengthens policies, and improves services to directly benefit CPS students’ health.


  • Explore our School-Based Health Services Program Area Guide
Community-Based Health Services
Expanding access to health resources in low-income communities reduces health disparities and enables residents to make informed decisions about appropriate care, reduce high-risk behaviors, and improve their health outcomes. Under our Community-Based Health Services program area, we support programs that work with Chicagoans living on low incomes and at risk of poor health outcomes and that focus on:

  • Health promotion and risk reduction, providing information and referrals, with an emphasis on prevention, early intervention, and disease management.
  • Increased access to care, addressing the comprehensive physical and mental health needs of Chicagoans who experience barriers to health care, including youth, immigrants and people who are under-insured and/or living with disabilities.
  • Systems improvement and innovation, promoting inter-agency collaboration and advocacy that foster new, creative approaches, strengthens policies, and improves services to directly benefit the health of Chicagoans living on low incomes.


  • Explore our Community-Based Health Services Program Area Guide

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