CEO Message

Vanessa B. Briggs

President and CEO
Brandywine Health Foundation

June 3, 2020

The very systems designed to protect the health and safety for all, are fraught with racial injustice and it is this long-term systemic racism that continues to permeate throughout our healthcare, education and criminal justice systems. It must be addressed and dismantled.

As Dr. King eloquently stated, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I will not remain silent. I stand prepared to take the bold and necessary actions to lead the Brandywine Health Foundation into the future as we strive to carry out the very Guiding Principles that are most relevant to our vision: A thriving, inclusive and healthy community for all.

Our Guidepost to Equality

The Brandywine Health Foundation’s Board of Directors approved the following Guiding Principles in the summer of 2019. If there ever is a time to Listen, Learn and Lead by these principles, the time is now! Please visit the to read the Board Chairs joint statement on racial equity.

  • Community Engagement – Be humble and authentic about how the impact of culture, language, race, ethnicity, and shared power plays out in our work.
  • Inclusiveness – Adopt community participatory practices from diverse individuals and perspectives using a racial and health equity lens.
  • Equity – Embody the value that all groups in our community have a voice and have access to resources and opportunities to improve the quality of their lives
  • Collective – Co-create and convene initiatives with cross sector partners to influence and implement policy, system, and environmental change strategies.
  • Innovation – Take risks to create ethical and forward-thinking solutions that transcend philanthropy’s traditional philosophies and approaches based on charity.
  • Leadership – Strengthen internal and external professional and organizational capacity to better serve the community.
  • Stewardship – Demonstrate accountability, transparency, and integrity as stewards of the community’s trust and resources.
  • Accountability – Use data and best practice insights to continually learn, adapt, and improve.

Our Action

As a result of our 2018-2019 Let’s Talk Series, came the birth of our third strategic priority: Community Voice. Thanks to the generous $100,000 grant from the Philadelphia Foundation the Brandywine Health Foundation has begun to raise the funds needed to lead real positive community-driven change. One of the main goals of our Community Voice strategy is to:

Build community capacity and leadership to increase responsibility, voice, and decision-making skills that influence systems, policies, and distribution of community resources.

Conducting business as usual is no longer sufficient. We must implement upstream solutions by authentically engaging our community and put forth actions that get at the root causes of unfair social and health disparities. Real change occurs when there is inclusive diversity of thought, power and decisions in order to rid our society from institutional and systemic racism and practice. Then everyone will say “I can breathe because we now have a just society.”

For more information on how you can be a part of the Brandywine Health’s Community Voice initiative, please contact Vanessa B. Briggs at

Yours in health,

Vanessa B. Briggs
President and CEO
Brandywine Health Foundation