Annual Report for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015

Mission Statement

Realizing the healthcare crisis in our country, the Board of Washington Square Health Foundation, Inc. recognizes that no one foundation can meet all the challenges of the healthcare environment. However, the Foundation has developed a program of grant making which is designed to be both a catalyst and guide for other foundations and grant making organizations in meeting the various needs of the Chicagoland healthcare community.

The Washington Square Health Foundation, Inc. grants funds in order to promote and maintain access to adequate healthcare for all people in the Chicagoland area regardless of race, sex, creed or financial need. The Foundation meets this goal through its grants for medical and nursing education, medical research and direct healthcare services.

As a guide to other foundations and other service providers and as a part of the Board’s stewardship of charitable funds, the Washington Square Health Foundation, Inc. has developed a grant evaluation system to ensure that the objectives of various projects are carried out in the manner prescribed by the approved grant.

The Foundation wishes to impress on the philanthropic community that the careful evaluation of the outcomes of grant projects is as important as the appropriate selection of grant recipients.

Board Chair’s Message

William N. Werner, MD, MPH

“Making Bricks without Straw”

At the recent Washington Square Health Foundation’s (WSHF) annual meeting, we spent a board development session discussing the current health care environment in the Chicago area. For the last several years, WSHF has focused grant making activity on funding “gaps” in the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Examples include mental health services, dental services (especially pediatric dentistry), primary care access for homeless or undocumented people who otherwise get their care in the emergency room, and medical education and medical research.

Agencies such as Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities have helped to fill these gaps. Given the state budget impasse in Springfield, the agencies are not receiving funding and are forced to layoff massive numbers of staff and drastically cut services. In addition, several city supported mental health clinics in Chicago have been closed due to funding priorities.

As reduced staffs struggle to provide basic health care services, patients are either forced to wait or seek care in emergencies rooms – the most expensive and inefficient care setting. Howard Nochumson, Executive Director, commented that providers and agencies are being forced to “make bricks without straw.” This was in reference to the Bible story in Exodus 5 of the Israelites who were held captive in Egypt. When Moses and Aaron, their spiritual leaders, asked for three days to worship their God, the Pharaoh responded that the Israelites were lazy and as punishment were now to make bricks without the essential ingredient of straw for drying and hardening. Nevertheless, they would be expected to continue to make the same daily number of bricks for the Pharaoh’s building programs.

Mr. Nochumson’s insightful comment captures the plight of Chicago area health care providers trying to maintain service levels with reduced staff and resources. The harsh reality is that non-governmental charitable organizations are not able to fill the funding gaps created by the political dysfunction in Chicago and Springfield. There is only so much “straw” to go around from private philanthropy.

William N. Werner, MD, MPH, FACP
Board Chair


Statement of Activities








Year ended September 30, 2015
Grants & Program Related Investment $568,462
Estimated Administrative Expense (Non-Charitable Expense) $133,375
Professional Investment & Custodial fees $33,263
Provision for federal excise tax $54,163
Total Assets $18,056,509
The official and complete audit as certified by Crowe Horwath LLPDownload PDF.

Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Grant Recipients