In 1918, Anna Harkness founded the Commonwealth Fund with a gift of $10 million ($151 million today) and the mandate to “do something for the welfare of mankind.” To celebrate 100 years of our work to improve health care and make it affordable and accessible for all Americans, we launched a website in 2018 that tells the Commonwealth Fund’s story. To a large extent, it’s also the story of health care in the United States over the past century.
The Commonwealth Fund — among the first private foundations started by a woman philanthropist, Anna M. Harkness — was established in 1918 with the broad charge to enhance the common good.
Today, the mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and people of color.
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.