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The Commonwealth Fund


Last profile update: 12/19/2017
Last grant data update: 03/19/2018

At A Glance

The Commonwealth Fund

1 E. 75th St.

New York City, NY United States 10021-2692


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation






Incorporated in 1918 in NY - Stephen V. Harkness began his career in New York State's Finger Lake region at age 15 as an apprentice harness maker. Harkness eventually settled in Ohio and became a successful businessman. He invested early in the petroleum refining business and provided funds at a critical moment in the history of the fledgling Standard Oil Company. After his death in 1888, his wife Anna moved the family to New York City where she gave to religious, welfare, and cultural institutions. Anna Harkness founded The Commonwealth Fund in 1918. The fund's first president was her son, Edward Stephen Harkness, who shared his mother's commitment to building a responsive and socially concerned philanthropy and who, over the years, gave generously to the fund's endowment

Purpose and Activities

The mission of the fund is to promote a high performing healthcare system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults. The fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve healthcare 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.