Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Catholic Diocesan Bishops of New York State have formed a $3.2 billion health foundation that will instantly become one of the city's largest charities and the biggest dedicated solely to state causes.
The foundation was created using the proceeds from the sale of the church's not-for-profit health plan, Fidelis Care, to publicly traded Centene Corp. for $3.75 billion. That deal has received approval from the state departments of Health and Financial Services but still needs the green light from the state Attorney General.
The charity's endowment would make it the ninth-largest in the metro area, according to Crain's list of the largest foundations. It would be similar in size to Carnegie Corp. of New York and the Simons Foundation.
Known as the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, the new entity announced 12 board members Tuesday drawn from healthcare, finance and philanthropy. They will be led by board Chair Al Kelly, CEO of Visa and a trustee at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
"The foundation will seek to transform the lives of underserved New Yorkers from all corners of the state and set a national model for addressing the health and wellness needs of low-income communities," Dolan said in a statement. The foundation would serve New Yorkers "of every color, every religion and every background."
The charity will look to invest in healthcare and health-related causes, such as the social determinants of health said Jason Lilien, who serves as counsel to Fidelis Care and is a partner at Loeb & Loeb in Manhattan. He said the foundation would look to invest in preventive health, behavioral health, nutrition, obesity, substance abuse treatment, early intervention services for children, home and community-based services in rural areas and education among other areas.
Lilien, who formerly led the state Attorney General's Charities Bureau, said the foundation could be a boon for local healthcare nonprofits that have been reliant on government funding.
"Most of the social services agencies in the state are financially strapped," he said. "This has the ability to make a significant impact on the healthcare landscape in New York.
The foundation includes three current or past hospital executives: Dr. Laura Forese, executive vice president and chief operating office of New York-Presbyterian; Kathryn Connerton, president and CEO of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton; and Kathryn Ruscitto, former president and CEO of St. Joseph's Health in Syracuse from 2011 to 2017.
Other board members with healthcare ties include Kevin Ryan, president and CEO of Covenant House, the Manhattan-based national charity serving youths who are homeless, runaways or survivors of human trafficking, and Sister Pietrina Raccuglia, president of the Manhattan-based Cabrini Mission Foundation.
The Catholic Church's plan for the charity, first proposed by Dolan in the fall, was put in jeopardy when provisions in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget for fiscal 2019 sought billions from Fidelis and Centene to fund a healthcare shortfall fund to protect against federal cuts. Fidelis and Centene ultimately agreed to pay state $1.9 billion in March.
The foundation is named after Sister Frances Xavier Cabrini. Born in Italy in 1850, she emigrated to New York, where she provided social assistance to Italian immigrants, in 1889.
She would help create 67 institutions including schools, hospitals, nursing homes and orphanages around the world and was canonized as a saint in 1946. Manhattan's Cabrini Medical Center, which closed in 2008, was also named for her.
"Catholic Church creates $3.2B health foundation from Fidelis sale" originally appeared in Crain's New York Business.