The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE) has ended its five-year co-sponsorship of KentuckyOne Health, turning over full sponsorship to Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) in exchange for $150 million — which will turn JHFE into one of the largest nonprofit foundations in Louisville.

Originally called Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services, the former operators of Jewish Hospital switched to JHFE after it merged with Saint Joseph Health System in Lexington in the formation of KentuckyOne Health in 2012. While JHFE has focused on delivering health care and medical research-oriented grants since that merger — investing more than $15 million in Louisville — it had also maintained a minority sponsorship of five seats on the board of KentuckyOne Health, but will now give up those seats.

As explained in a JHFE press release Tuesday, in connection with exiting the sponsorship of KentuckyOne, it will receive “financial consideration from CHI of $150 million,” lifting the nonprofit’s total funds to over $250 million — a roughly 66 percent increase that will immediately make it one of the largest grant-making foundations in the city.

The press released stated that these additional funds “will allow JHFE to deepen its existing financial commitment to worthy, mission-driven projects supporting community health, medical research and the Jewish community in Louisville and the region.”

“We have worked hard to promote excellence in health care delivery during our five-year partnership with CHI,” stated David Kaplan, chair of the JHFE board of trustees. “With the recent changes in KentuckyOne Health’s business plan, both organizations agreed it would be best to conclude our relationship and pursue our missions independently. We are very excited about our enhanced capacity to promote medical research, community health and support the Jewish community.”

Denver-based CHI is now the sole sponsor of KentuckyOne, which parted ways this year with the University of Louisville Hospital it had operated since 2012 and is now looking to sell other its other facilities in Louisville, including Jewish Hospital. CHI operates 102 hospitals in 19 states and has 95,000, and is pursuing a merger with San Francisco-based Dignity Health, an even larger nonprofit hospital system.

In the press release, CHI executive vice president Paul Edgett said that the Jewish heritage within KentuckyOne facilities had been important for the organization, as “our shared vision to bring wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved, has brought positive change to individuals from all walks of life, faith traditions and economic means.”

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]