How Are Hospitals Investing in Community Development?

The new report Exploring Hospital Investments in Community Development provides the first in-depth, national analysis of nonprofit hospitals’ reported spending on community building activities, examining how this spending varies by geography and hospital characteristics. The report also includes a qualitative review of related activities undertaken by hospitals in Third District states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey), highlighting areas of potential alignment with the community development field.

Social determinants of health — such as economic security, housing conditions, and neighborhood context — are increasingly recognized as having an even greater impact on health and well-being than clinical care. Although many hospitals and health-care systems are exploring opportunities to address these nonmedical determinants, before now, little was known about how much hospitals typically invest in community development–related activities or what types of partnerships and initiatives they pursue.

Exploring Hospital Investments in Community Development sheds new light on this topic by examining nonprofit hospitals’ spending on efforts to address the social and economic needs of patients and communities. The report finds that, in aggregate, nonprofit hospitals reported spending an average of $474 million on community building each year during the study period. This funding was primarily allocated toward workforce development, community services, and community health improvement advocacy efforts. Additionally, a qualitative review of hospitals’ reported activities identifies examples of interventions related to housing, economic development, food access, and more.

Read the full report: Exploring Hospital Investments in Community Development.

See the Data Appendix for hospital spending breakouts for states, metropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan portions of states.