Our Foundation

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.
– Jane Addams

Who We Are

Why is ACTION capitalized?  We get this question a lot.  We are in the business of perspective transformation.

That means learning something that changes the way you see the world and then taking action based on that information to create change. Those actions might be small steps, individual changes to what you decide and do each day or big steps like changing systems and institutions.  Whether the change is evolutionary or revolutionary, the important part is that what you know doesn’t stay in your head.  You use it to take ACTION.

The History of Our Action

  • 2004:  Our founders were committed to improving the public’s health but felt that there was no space for community members and leaders to tackle challenges together.  Natalie Burke and Vincent Lafronza sat down at a kitchen table and put their vision on paper—then they started CommonHealth ACTION.
  • 2009:  With the support of local stakeholders and leaders, we created the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) to serve DC, MD, and VA.  After five years, we spun off IPHI to be a free-standing organization focused on improving the region’s health.
  • 2012:  We had an opportunity to invest in place-based work in Mississippi. We believe that to support community work you need a team on the ground to be in relationship with people, so we opened an office in Jackson, MS.
  • 2015:  Our model has evolved.  Our first love is still public health.  In fact, more than a decade later, we still believe that all roads lead to health. But, we've learned that we can't keep inviting people to our party without ever attending theirs.  We’ve begun working with new partners who aren’t thinking about health every day but whose work means everything to population health outcomes.