UniHealth Foundation is a private grantmaking organization established in 1998 as the result of the conversion of a nonprofit vertically integrated healthcare system to a private foundation. The Foundation’s history dates to the 1988 merger of two nonprofit healthcare providers, HealthWest Foundation and LHS, the parent company of the Lutheran Hospital Society of Southern California. This merger resulted in the establishment of UniHealth, a nonprofit corporation which directly and indirectly served as the parent corporation of a substantial number of nonprofit tax-exempt medical centers and taxable for-profit subsidiaries and affiliates.

UniHealth was formed in the midst of a nationwide revolution in the delivery and financing of healthcare services. Dramatic increases in costs of health care along with decreasing levels of governmental and private insurance reimbursements made it increasingly difficult for hospitals to operate and remain viable. In mid-1996, the UniHealth Board of Directors undertook an exhaustive analysis of its strategic options and determined that UniHealth could better serve its constituency by changing the means by which it fulfilled its charitable mission and becoming a grantmaking foundation.

On December 3, 1998, UniHealth completed the merger of its medical centers with Catholic Healthcare West, a nonprofit hospital corporation and adopted Restated Articles of Incorporation. The surviving corporation became UniHealth Foundation, a private grantmaking organization.