John A. Hartford Foundation

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The John A. Hartford Foundation
Logo John A. Hartford Foundation.png
Founded 1929
Founder John A. Hartford
George L. Hartford
Type Non-operating private foundation
(IRS exemption status): 501(c)(3)
Focus Aging, Health
Area served
United States
Method Donations and Grants
Key people

Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, President

Norman H. Volk, Chairman, Board of Trustees
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015) $35,905,082[1]
Endowment US$ 460.7 million as of 31 December 2011[2]
Slogan "It is necessary to carve from the whole vast spectrum of human needs one small band that the heart and mind together tell you is the area in which you can make your best contribution.”[2]

The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF or the Hartford Foundation) is a private United States-based philanthropy whose current mission is to improve the health of older Americans. For many years it made grants for research and education in geriatric medicine and other areas of health care, but has recently moved into aging-focused care delivery projects of a more applied nature.


Based in New York City, it was founded in 1929 by John Augustine Hartford and later joined by his brother George Ludlum Hartford, the family owners of the A&P grocery chain.[3] The foundation's mission from the beginning has been "to do the greatest good for the greatest number."[4]

The foundation's grants in the mid-20th century were predominantly for basic and clinical medical research; it was at one time the largest funder in this area.[4] In the 1970s, the foundation moved towards a wider range of projects "that will have high impact."[5]


Aging and health[edit]

From about 1980 to 2012, the foundation focused its efforts on building training capacity and conducting research at schools of medicine, nursing, and social work.[6] Its current programs aim at a more direct impact on the health of older adults.[2]

In 2008, the foundation led a consortium of grantmakers to fund a study from the Institute of Medicine to look at the "crisis" of an ill-prepared workforce and outdated models of caring for older adults. "[7]


One of the largest and most important programs in the foundation's recent history has been to help build academic capacity in geriatric medicine through the Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine. These Centers are located at academic medicical centers around the country and were known as high throughput producers of academic geriatricians as well as the generators of basic, clinical, and population level medical knowledge about older adults.[8]

Another important initiative has been building bridges from geriatric medicine out to the subspecialities of internal medicine and surgical and related specialties.[9]

The foundation has supported training and development programs for medical students, fellows, junior faculty, and senior thought leaders.

Nursing programs[edit]

The foundation's strategy to improve nursing care for older adults was also largely based on creating Centers of Excellence, and has been credited with providing extraordinary leadership in directing attention to the special nursing needs of older adults.[10][11][12]

Social work[edit]

Initially the foundation focused on enhancing the capability of schools of social work to train aging-competent social workers.It has increasingly focused on providing training and practice opportunities in real-world settings.[13]

Integrating and improving services[edit]

The foundation has long had an interest in helping to improve the delivery of health care in the U.S. In the 1970s, under the direction of CEO Bob Higgins, the foundation played a key role as a convenor of stakeholders to discuss cost containment in healthcare. "We would go into a community and get key people together. In Des Moines we got together the Des Moines Register, a union, and some local businesspeople and we conducted a study about what was going on in healthcare. In Utah it was the Mormon Church [sic], a key senator, and the governor who all came together. We would go into these communities and bring all these people together and get them to look at the healthcare situation. Only foundation money could bring these people together. Inevitably, these activities led to an initiative of some kind and, often, the creation of an HMO."[5]

Special grants[edit]

The foundation has made rare special grants, including grants in response to the 911 terrorist events, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The grants have often focused on better disaster preparation and relief policies for institutionalized older adults.[14]

Grantee communication[edit]

Beginning in 2006, the foundation has made efforts to communicate with its grantees and other stakeholders, sponsoring grantee perception surveys by the Center for Effective Philanthropy[15] and released in part to the public.[16] (A 2010 Grantee Perception Report is not currently publicly available.) It has circulated an e-newsletter to its stakeholder community since at least 2004, and has launched an online blog, Health AGEnda.[17]


The foundation, like most large U.S. charitable foundations, has no set closure date.[2]

Although not directly related by mission or program activities, in 1983 the Hartford Family Foundation was established in the State of New Jersey to preserve "the memory of the late George Huntington Hartford and the company he founded in 1859."[18]


The foundation solicits no new donations, and invests the assets that it has not yet distributed to maximize the return on investment. Unsolicited donations or estate gifts are deposited into the foundation's core accounts, while larger donations are earmarked and targeted for projects mutually agreeable to the foundation and the donor(s).

Awards and honors[edit]

The foundation's grantees are often recognized with prestigious awards and honors—including multiple MacArthur Fellow ("genius") grants[19][20][21][22] The foundation itself has won recognition; for example, in 2011 the foundation received the Community College of Philadelphia's Foundation Keystone Award for its work on the needs of older adults in community college nursing programs.[23]


The foundation's genesis as an offspring of the A&P supermarket fortune, and its consequent stockholding ties with the A&P during the chain's marketplace decline in the 1960s and '70s, proved almost disastrous to the solvency of the foundation. At several points grantmaking was placed on hiatus.[4] In 1969 the foundation attracted attention of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee during hearings about the tax treatment of foundations with substantial financial links to corporations. Huntington Hartford, John and George Hartford's nephew and never a part of the foundation's governance structure, was highly critical of this lingering financial relationship.[24] A period of A&P stock divestiture ensued and the foundation returned to financial stability by the late 1970s.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc." (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e John A. Hartford Foundation. "About The John A. Hartford Foundation". Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  3. ^ "John A. Hartford Dies in Elevator. Chairman of the A. & P. Chain 3 Succumbs After Attending Chrysler Board Meeting". New York Times. September 21, 1951. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  4. ^ a b c Jacobson, J. S. (1984). The Greatest Good: A History of the John A. Hartford Foundation. The foundation.
  5. ^ a b "Bob Higgins - CV" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  6. ^ Regenstreif, Donna I., Christopher A. Langston, and Corinne H. Rieder. "Decades of focus: Grant making at the John A. Hartford Foundation." Health Affairs 23.2 (2004): 258-264.
  7. ^ Institute of Medicine . 2008. Retooling for an aging America: Building the health care workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  8. ^ Reuben, David B., et al. "Building academic geriatric capacity: an evaluation of the John A. Hartford Foundation Centers of Excellence initiative." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 52.8 (2004):1384-1390
  9. ^ Hazzard, W.R., Woolard, N., & Regenstreif, D.I. "Integrating geriatrics into the subspecialties of internal medicine: The Hartford Foundation/American Geriatrics Society/Wake Forest University Bowman N. Gray School of Medicine Initiative." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 45.5 (1997): 638-640.
  10. ^ Regenstreif, D. I., Brittis, S., Fagin, C. M., & Rieder, C. H. (2003). Strategies to advance geriatric nursing: The John A. Hartford Foundation initiatives. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 51(10), 1479-1483.
  11. ^ Huba, G. J., Fagin, C. M., Franklin, P. D., & Regenstreif, D. I. (2006). Outcomes and lessons learned from the John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Initiative Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence. Nursing Outlook, 54(4), 243-253.
  12. ^ McBride, A. B., Watman, R., Escobedo, M., & Beilenson, J. (2011). Clustering excellence to exert transformative change: The Hartford Geriatric Nursing Initiative (HGNI). Nursing Outlook, 59(4), 189-195.
  13. ^ Robbins, L. A., & Rieder, C. H. (2003). The John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatric Social Initiative. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 39(1-2), 71-89.
  14. ^ Hyer K, Brown LM, Polivka-West L, Berman A. Helping nursing homes prepare for disasters. Health Affairs (Millwood). 2010;29(10):1961-5. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0665
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ "Grantee Perception Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  17. ^ "Health AGEnda | The John A. Hartford Foundation Blog". Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  18. ^ "Welcome to the Hartford Family Foundation!". Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  19. ^ Name Search › (2003-10-05). "Sarah H. Kagan – MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  20. ^ Name Search › (2008-01-27). "Diane Meier — MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  21. ^ Name Search › (2009-01-26). "Mary Tinetti – MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  22. ^ Name Search › (2012-10-02). "Eric Coleman – MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  23. ^ "Community College of Philadelphia". 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  24. ^ Hartford, H. (1967) Why the A&P doesn't care. October, Show magazine

External links[edit]