Worldwide, countries face the challenge of securing funds for health promotion. To address this issue, some governments have established health promotion foundations, which are statutory bodies with long-term and recurrent public resources. This article draws on experiences from Austria, Australia, Germany, Hungary and Switzerland to illustrate four lessons learned from the foundation model to secure funding for health promotion. These lessons are concerned with: (i) the broad spectrum of potential revenue sources for health promotion foundations within national contexts; (ii) legislative anchoring of foundation revenues as a base for financial sustainability; (iii) co-financing as a means to increase funds and shared commitment for health promotion; (iv) complementarity of foundations to existing funding. Synthesizing the lessons, we discuss health promotion foundations in relation to wider concerns for investment in health based on the values of sustainability, solidarity and stewardship. We recommend policy-makers and researchers take notice of health promotion foundations as an alternative model for securing funds for health promotion, and appreciate their potential for integrating inter-sectoral revenue collection and inter-sectoral funding strategies. However, health promotion foundations are not a magic bullet. They also pose challenges to coordination and public sector stewardship. Therefore, health promotion foundations will need to act in concert with other governance instruments as part of a wider societal agenda for investment in health.
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