From Hospital to Healthcare System

With the help of extraordinary generosity from its philanthropy partners, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) is taking the next step in building a healthcare delivery system to serve South Los Angeles. The Weingart Foundation and Ballmer Group have jointly awarded $15 million in support of the hospital’s newly established MLK Community Medical Group (MLK CMG).

The transformational gift, publicly announced at our 2018 Sharing the Dream Lunch, reflects the largest single investment in the hospital’s ambitious vision to date.

The MLK CMG is an innovative solution to a vexing—and far-reaching—problem: the critical shortage of doctors in South Los Angeles.

“The goal of the medical group is to bring new doctors to the community. One of the root causes of poor population health is lack of access to physician care. Weingart and Ballmer Group understand the impact these physicians can have for our community. We’re so grateful to them both for their courage and generosity in supporting this vision.”
–Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital

Getting to the root cause of health inequality aligns with the Weingart Foundation’s goals. In 2016, Weingart announced that it was making a “full commitment to equity” in its continuing work to support fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for communities hit hardest by generational poverty.

Under the leadership of CEO Dr. Elaine Batchlor, a population health expert, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital created the MLK Community Medical Group as a nonprofit professional corporation with a mission to serve the community. Unique in the state of California, the medical group recruits culturally aligned doctors from prestigious medical centers across the nation who have a desire to serve in a safety-net community and need the infrastructure and financial security provided by group practice to fulfill that desire. The hospital’s presence in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage area makes the group’s presence a game changer for health outcomes.

That’s the kind of innovative thinking that also interests Ballmer Group.

Founded by Connie and Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and owner of the LA Clippers, Ballmer Group is focused on creating systems that will allow people to launch themselves out poverty. Using strategic, directed philanthropy, Ballmer Group is deploying a multi-pronged approach to ending cycles of poverty. It funds data-driven organizations that affect change in education systems, child and family support systems—and now, with the MLK Community Medical Group, healthcare systems.

The Ballmers’ introduction to the hospital and its innovative work came from the Weingart Foundation, a decades-long champion for South Los Angeles and an early supporter of the recently opened hospital. Previous awards from Weingart have gone to the hospital’s maternity services and, recently, the medical group’s first outpatient practice site, the Advanced Care Clinic. Weingart’s experience with healthcare inequality in South LA and its support of the hospital’s progress in this area made them a natural leader for the Ballmer Group introduction.

“Every new doctor we bring to South Los Angeles is a step toward a healthier community,” says Dr. Batchlor. “This is a vision that we share with the Weingart Foundation and Ballmer Group. With their commitment we truly have a chance of changing the odds for health equity here.”