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Foundation President & CEO Billie Hall selected for prestigious leadership award

Sunflower Foundation is pleased to announce that Grantmakers in Health (GIH) has chosen Billie Hall, president and CEO of the foundation, as the 2024 recipient of its prestigious Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy.

GIH, a national nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to helping grantmakers across the country improve the health of all people, will present the award to Hall at the 2024 GIH annual conference, June 4-6 in Portland, Ore.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award from GIH, a respected, valued, and essential health philanthropy resource,” Hall said. “In my early days as a founding CEO, GIH was invaluable in helping connect me to peers from across the country who served as vital mentors. GIH has remained a steadfast partner in our work to support innovative funding in health, food and built environment systems, capacity building, and advocacy and curated educational opportunities through learning collaboratives and speakers’ series. Our portfolio has evolved with the support of GIH and the hundreds of nonprofit organizations we have been privileged to partner with over my 23 years at Sunflower Foundation.”

The award was established in honor of Terrance Keenan, longtime executive and consultant with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. First presented by GIH in 1993, the award recognizes a grantmaker whose work is distinguished by leadership, innovation, achievement, creativity, and boldness.

Hall was nominated for the award by members of her staff, with support from two of Hall’s close colleagues in philanthropy, independent consultant and former Keenan Award winner Tom David and retired Missouri Foundation for Health CEO Robert Hughes. 

According to GIH, members of the selection committee cited Hall “as an inspiration for their own work in philanthropy. They were particularly impressed with how Hall met the challenges of catalyzing systems change, developing partnerships, and supporting communities at their own pace.”

As the founding president and CEO of Sunflower Foundation since 2001, Hall has guided the statewide health philanthropy in its mission to serve as a catalyst for improving the health of all Kansans. Under her leadership, the foundation has been committed to investing in mission-aligned nonprofits through grants, education, advocacy, collaborative learning, and capacity building. The foundation also has been a leader in statewide policy work in support of key changes to improve the health of Kansans, as well as an advocate for strengthening the health care safety net and expanding access to behavioral health care.

In the fall, Hall announced her plans to retire from the foundation in April 2024. The foundation’s board of trustees plans to announce Hall’s successor in the immediate future.

A native of Topeka, Kan., Hall has spent her entire career in health care and public health, spanning the areas of community health, hospital leadership, health care research, public policy, and advocacy. She is a former chair of the GIH Board of Directors.

Prior to her appointment to Sunflower Foundation, Hall served as vice president for public affairs at the Kansas Health Institute, where she was responsible for developing the organization’s health policy agenda. Formerly a public health educator for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, she also led the development of and served as director for the first specialty women’s health center in Topeka. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Washburn University and a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Missouri.

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