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About Us

Mission Statement

The Commonwealth Fund was established in 1918 with the broad charge to enhance the common good. Its founder, Anna M. Harkness, is among the first women to start a private foundation. 

Today, the mission of the Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing, equitable health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including people of color, people with low income, and those who are uninsured. 

The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries. 

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Commonwealth Fund has made a commitment to become an antiracist organization. That commitment extends not only to our research agenda, our grantmaking, and our communications, but also to all aspects of our internal operations and interactions — from our endowment management and hiring practices to the ways in which staff members relate to one another. Click to learn more.

Working at the Commonwealth Fund 

We take great pride in our team and strive to create a collegial, inclusive environment. We look for talented people with curious minds who are inspired by the Fund’s mission. 

As a community of individuals seeking to improve health care policy and practice through evidence-based research, we encourage all our staff to contribute to this work, regardless of title or tenure. We consider diversity of experience and perspective to be essential to our success. Click to learn more about working at the Fund

Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System

The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System was established in 2022 to articulate a vision for a truly national public health system, one with the capacity to protect America’s health, reduce inequities, and better prepare the nation to address major health problems and future crises. Click to learn more.

Rural hospital construction

Foundation History

In 1918, Anna Harkness founded the Commonwealth Fund with the mandate that it should “do something for the welfare of mankind.” Among the first women to establish a foundation, Harkness initially endowed the foundation with a gift of nearly $10 million. 

The Fund made health care an early focus of its work. For more than 100 years, it has sought to catalyze change and eliminate disparities in health care policy, practice, and outcomes.

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