February 6, 2019

San Diego-Based Foundation Offers Largest U.S. Private Prize for Health and Wellness

San Diego, CA. February 6, 2019. The deadline for The Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s Innovation Initiative (i2) Funding Challenge 2019 is midnight on Friday, February 15, 2019, with $1 million at stake.

The largest health and wellness prize competition in the U.S., the i2 Challenge seeks the most promising innovations to advance health and wellness in vulnerable populations in San Diego and/or Imperial Counties. Winning innovations will demonstrate a sustainable way to reduce cost and poor outcomes, improve quality, and increase capacity in a segment of the health continuum.

The competition is open to innovators with transformative ideas and existing or new social enterprises (nonprofits, B Corps, or for-profits that advance health and wellness of those in need). The innovation must initially target populations within San Diego and/or Imperial counties.

Competitors can enter the competition simply by filling out a simple online IDEA application found at AllianceHF.org/i2/.

“The i2 challenge represents our commitment and therefore willingness to take risks by funding innovations that can dramatically improve the health paradigm in vulnerable populations,” said Alliance Healthcare Foundation Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Dreicer.

The foundation kicked off the annual competition at a funding forum on January 30 at the Jacobs Center attended by approximately 300 people. Between the application deadline on February 15 and the final award in July, competitors will go through a series of steps that include eight workshops and two live pitch sessions.

“While it is clear the $1 million prize is a substantial incentive, all competitors benefit from participation since the process itself offers a great training ground for how to shape social enterprise proposals and pitch to funders,” said Ricardo dos Santos, Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s i2 Journey Guide. Mr. dos Santos is a leading expert on innovation and entrepreneurship with more than 20 years of experience driving ventures at major corporations.

First launched in 2010, the i2 program has awarded $12 million to innovative organizations. This includes follow-up investment awarded to prize winners.

The winners in the last two years include the Multicultural Health Foundation’s $1 million award in 2018 to form the Prevention Alliance—a group of ethnic organizations that will benefit from a software solution allowing them access to sources of insurance reimbursement they would not be able to access individually, thereby reducing the overall cost while improving the quality of healthcare for their clients.

The 2017 winner was Somali Family Services. In conjunction with Scripps Health and a software partner, the organization is deploying its $1 million prize to develop virtual reality educational content to initially help educate the Somali community about the need, purpose and safety of immunization.

Both organizations plan to spread their innovations beyond their initial target populations.

“We are looking forward to meeting and learning about this year’s competitors and the ideas they will bring to the contest,” Dreicer said. “Breakthroughs from the i2 competition have the potential to not only help vulnerable populations in San Diego and Imperial Valley, but also help those beyond our region.”


About Alliance Healthcare Foundation. We work to advance health and wellness for the most vulnerable in San Diego and Imperial counties. We accomplish this work through collaborative funding, convening and advocacy. We currently operate a portfolio of five programs:

  • i2 is our innovation initiative, also referred to as “venture philanthropy”—based on the thesis that innovation capital (often high risk, high reward) is needed to transform the current paradigm (high cost and poor outcomes) and improve quality, increase capacity and reduce costs;
  • Mission Support—based on the belief that trusting those closest to our constituents and providing core operating support for great organizations will best advance our mission;
  • Responsive Funding—based on the belief that it is important to be responsive to time-sensitive community needs and opportunities;
  • InvestUp—based on the belief that it is important to actively and strategically be looking for ways to meaningfully advance our mission and it is worth spending some or all of our corpus—beyond the earnings off of our endowment—if we can substantively, sustainably and positively change the dynamics; and
  • Program-Related Investments, also referred to as “impact investments,” based on the thesis that we can activate our investment portfolio to achieve more positive impact.

Our History. In 1982, the San Diego Community Healthcare Alliance (Alliance) created the first Preferred Provider Organization/Network (PPO) in the United States. From 1989 through 1994, the Alliance funded Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF) through profits from its Community Care Network (CCN) operations. In 1994, Alliance sold CCN to a national healthcare company and channeled the proceeds from CCN’s sale into an endowment of $83 million for AHF. That endowment has enabled funding of approximately $64 million (USD) in direct funding and approximately $41 million (USD) from national and local funding partners in San Diego and Imperial counties. Our endowment holds approximately $80 million in assets today, with funding for programs and operations derived from endowment investment earnings.

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