NEWS RELEASE | America’s Health Conversion Foundations: A PtP Success Story

We are pleased to announce the release of an important new look at the performance of a set of U.S. PtP “health conversion foundations.”

With government revenues powerfully constrained and COVID-highlighted massive social and economic problems calling out for solutions, pressures have mounted around the world to identify new sources of revenue with which to address these problems.

Fortunately, one such source has recently been discovered. Known by the unlikely name of Philanthropication thru Privatization, or PtP for short, this source involves the creation of often quite enormous charitable foundations out of assets under the control of governments or quasi-governmental entities that are in process of being transformed into private, for-profit ownership or control or of being exacted from private sources as penalties or fines—and in both cases being channeled into private foundations. Over 650 such PtP foundations have so far been identified around the world drawing on assets as diverse as proceeds from the sale of state-owned enterprises, debt swaps, royalties from state-regulated industries, stolen assets, penalties for corporate misdeeds, auctions of spectrum frequencies, and the de-mutualization of nonprofits or cooperatives.

But how effective has this option been?

To shed additional light on the answer to this question, we are today releasing an in-depth assessment of the operational and programmatic performance of four of the most numerous collection of PtP foundations in the world: the 242 U.S. “health conversion” foundations, which have emerged from the transformation into for-profit institutions of an assortment of U.S. nonprofit hospitals, health insurance organizations, and conglomerate health systems.

Prepared by Johns Hopkins University Professor and PtP Project Director Dr. Lester M. Salamon and Chuck Bell, a noted expert on the conversion phenomenon at Consumer Reports (formerly Consumers Union), “America’s Health Conversion Foundations: A PtP Success Story” focuses on four middle-America such foundations—The Colorado Health Foundation, the Kansas Health Foundation, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and Missouri Foundation for Health.

As this report shows, while differing in origins and transformation processes, these four case study foundations have proven to be model institutions—operating with a high degree of transparency and accountability, effectively managing the resources placed under their control, and using them in highly effective and imaginative ways to improve the health and life chances of the people in the regions they serve.

In the process, this case study lends credence to the PtP concept as a useful component of any comprehensive effort to address the glaring problems revealed by the recent pandemic crisis.

About the PtP Projectemail
The Philanthropication thru Privatization (PtP) Project seeks to promote an option for the creation of independent charitable foundations around the world by capturing all or a portion of an assortment of “privatization” transactions involving the transformation of publicly-owned or -controlled assets into private wealth. The Project has thus far identified over 640 foundations with assets over US$200 billion that have emerged from such transactions, including some of the largest foundations in the world, such as the Volkswagen Foundation, the King Baudouin Foundation, the Nippon Foundation, the 240 U.S. health conversion foundations, and the enormous Italian foundations of banking origin. The PtP Project is directed by Dr. Lester M. Salamon, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies (CCSS). Administrative and technical support for the Project is provided by the East-West Management Institute (EWMI) , a nonprofit international development organization based in New York. For more information about the PtP Project, visit