Then-Governor Maggie Hassan signs the bill reauthorizing the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, which provided nearly 50,000 Granite Staters access to health care, including care for addiction services. (Photo courtesy of New Futures.)

Then-Governor Maggie Hassan signs the bill reauthorizing the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, which provided nearly 50,000 Granite Staters access to health care, including care for addiction services. (Photo courtesy of New Futures.)

New Futures: 20 years of changing the curve

Oliver Hubbard, a chicken farmer from Walpole, wanted to combat the disease of addiction by making change at the public policy level. The organization founded with his gift has a 20-year record of success doing just that

New Futures turns 20 this year.

Oliver Hubbard, a chicken farmer and poultry breeder from Walpole, made a $43 million gift to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation because he wanted to make lasting, meaningful change to combat addiction in New Hampshire.

Hubbard wanted to make a difference at the public policy level, to “actually change the curve” on an incredibly complex issue. His attorney and financial advisor Charles DeGrandpre brought that charge to the Charitable Foundation, which brought together an advisory group that included the state attorney general, director of prisons, experts in prevention and treatment, academic researchers, physicians, people in recovery, Republican and Democratic legislators, and a consultant from the nation’s largest public-health philanthropy.

In 1997, at that group’s recommendation and a year after Oliver Hubbard’s initial gift, the Foundation launched New Futures, the state’s leading advocacy and education organization in the area of substance misuse. New Futures became an independent nonprofit in 2001.

This independent, nonpartisan organization has been instrumental in changing that curve. New Futures quantified the scope and effects of the crisis with research and the dissemination of comprehensive and reliable data for the public and policymakers. State lawmakers now consider New Futures the go-to source of information and education on issues of addiction.

New Futures played a pivotal role in the creation of the state’s Alcohol Fund, which dedicates resources from the profits of state-run liquor stores for treatment, prevention and recovery. It was instrumental in the passage of Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire, which gave more than 50,000 people access to health insurance that included coverage for addiction treatment. And New Futures played a key role in the passage of laws — including vertical drivers’ licenses for underage drivers, penalties for party hosts who provide alcohol to minors, and creation of a beer keg registry for the state — that have helped protect New Hampshire’s young people.

New Futures has trained hundreds of citizen advocates to use their voices effectively to advocate for policy change. And people working on the front lines of the addiction crisis rely on New Futures for effective advocacy in the policy arena.

Oliver Hubbard’s gift continues to support New Futures’ operation — along with a wide range of other efforts in the areas of prevention, treatment and recovery in New Hampshire. Since Hubbard’s gift is invested for the long-term, grants will continue to be made from it in perpetuity. (And New Futures’ scope was broadened last year to include broad health policy and early childhood issues and successfully advocated for full-day kindergarten.)

“New Futures’ work is more important now than ever,” said Tym Rourke, director of substance use disorders grantmaking at the Charitable Foundation.

At key moments, Rourke said, “New Futures has been there to work with the legislature when they were ready to make change. We are far better placed as a state to tackle the current epidemic — and whatever else comes down the line — because we have this policy and advocacy infrastructure in place.”

“Without the Hubbard Family’s generosity, New Futures would not be here today,” said Michele Merritt, senior vice president at New Futures. “Their tremendous gift that has enabled New Futures to bring about lasting policy change in this state over the course of the past 20 years.”

New Hampshire is fortunate to be able to count on New Futures. Happy 20th, New Futures, and congratulations. We know that Oliver Hubbard would be proud.