Sunflower Foundation staff members are passionate about our work. Whether it’s talking through a possible project or finding creative ways to provide technical assistance, we believe in trusting our partners’ knowledge and perspective. Relationships are important to us and we strive to foster a culture of grantee-centric service. Trust, fairness, responsiveness, and respect are the principles we use to guide our daily work and grantmaking decisions.
Billie Hall, who has been the foundation’s president and CEO since its inception, oversees the operations and philanthropic investments of the organization. She works in partnership with the Board of Trustees to provide leadership, vision, and direction for the foundation. With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., and a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Missouri, Billie has spent her entire career working in health care and public health. She formerly was a public health educator for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, led the development of and served as director for the first specialty women’s health center in Topeka, and served as vice president for public affairs for the Kansas Health Institute. She is a native of Topeka.
Shanna Zimmer oversees the financial, investment, and business planning for the foundation and the Sunflower Nonprofit Center. She advises the CEO on financial decisions, manages the organization's budget, and ensures that the foundation is adhering to auditing and accounting policies. She also oversees human resources. Shanna previously has served in controller positions for Community HealthCare System, Inc., in Onaga, Kan., DCCCA, Inc., in Lawrence, Kan., and The University of Kansas Health System, St. Francis Campus, in Topeka, Kan. She also served as an accountant for Slawson Companies, Inc., in Wichita, Kan. Originally from Tescott, Kan., Shanna has a Master of Health Care Leadership from Friends University in Wichita and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kansas State University.
Kelli Mark designs, implements and monitors all aspects of the foundation’s grantmaking process and is responsible for assuring that it is in compliance with local, state and federal regulations. Before joining the foundation, she spent five years working in a variety of roles for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Family Health, most recently as the bureau chief and director of administration and policy. Before assuming those positions, she served as a section chief, unit director and grants manager, where she played an integral role in developing and administering grants to improve the health of infants, children, pregnant women, and families across Kansas. Kelli also previously spent a decade working for St. Francis Health Center, including five years as document control administrator and quality analyst, where she helped develop and worked in database tracking systems. A native of Topeka, she has an Associate of Science in Liberal Studies from Barton Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition/Public Health from Kansas State University, and a Master of Public Administration from Wichita State University.
Elizabeth Burger, PhD, MBA, EMT, oversees the foundation’s healthy communities work, including the built environment and its influences on health and wellness, equitable access to the outdoors, the foundation’s trails program, food access and nutrition security. She started her career as a TV news producer, then transitioned to health and wellness. She previously owned a personal training business, managed hospital-based wellness programs, worked in academia, and served as evaluation director of practice-based research for the American Academy of Family Physicians. Originally from Bartlesville, Okla., Elizabeth earned Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in Health and Human Performance from Oklahoma State University. She also has a Master of Business Administration from Rockhurst University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Journalism from the University of Tulsa.
Brandon Skidmore oversees Sunflower Foundation’s health systems work, including public health, mental health, primary and acute care, and the foundation’s 13-year investment in integrated care. He has worked extensively to expand the foundation’s national partnerships in the health systems space over the past five years, including recent work with the Bipartisan Policy Center, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, Well Being Trust Foundation, de Beaumont Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, and the CDC Foundation. Brandon is a 13-year veteran of state government, having served in a variety of leadership positions within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) prior to joining the foundation in 2016. Brandon, a native of Augusta, has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Kansas.
Krista Machado oversees the foundation’s work with the Kansas Fights Addiction Board of Directors and Kansas Attorney General’s Office, assisting them with grantmaking strategies and management of grants aimed at preventing, treating or mitigating the effects of substance use and addiction. With over six years of experience leading statewide prescription drug and opioid initiatives, she has served as chair and facilitator of the Kansas Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee and worked with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and a variety of state and local agencies to develop a strategic plan to address the opioid crisis in Kansas. She previously served as program coordinator for DCCCA in Lawrence, Kan., where she developed and managed statewide prescription drug and opioid prevention initiatives. Krista, who grew up in Gardner, Kan., has a Master of Science in Psychology from Grand Canyon State University, Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Kansas.
Tiffany Fisher oversees the operations of the Sunflower Nonprofit Center, including developing and maintaining a menu of its services, managing its staff, developing and implementing policies and procedures for the center, working with organizations to reserve meeting and event space and assisting with event preparation and coordination. She previously served as public information officer for both the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the Kansas Department of Administration, assistant city administrator for the City of Mission Hills, and executive director for the Topeka Bar Association. She also formerly owned and operated a small business. Tiffany has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications and a Master of Public Administration, both from the University of Kansas. She is a native of Arkansas City, Kan.
With more than 20 years of experience in event planning, Tami Sterling is responsible for coordinating meetings and events for the foundation and nonprofit organizations that rent the Sunflower Nonprofit Center. Her responsibilities include handling all aspects of pre-event planning, providing onsite logistical support and management during events, coordinating post-event cleanup and maintaining relationships with organizations that use the Nonprofit Center. Prior to joining the foundation, Tami worked for 22 years for KFMC Health Improvement Partners in Topeka as both communications/education coordinator and quality improvement consultant, where planning regional and statewide events was among her many responsibilities. Tami has an Associate in Applied Science, specializing in office management, from Allen County Community College. She is originally from Harveyville, Kan.
Gavin Hoskins oversees the Sunflower Nonprofit Center’s facilities and grounds, handling maintenance and general upkeep. He has nearly five decades worth of experience in commercial construction, including more than 30 years as a project superintendent. He began working in construction in 1972, then joined the Carpenter’s Local 1445 in his hometown of Manhattan, Kan., in 1976. He became a construction superintendent in 1987 and has helped oversee numerous commercial and public construction projects in the Topeka and Lawrence areas over the years, with the most recent one being the renovation work for the Sunflower Nonprofit Center.
Brett Riggs manages the development and implementation of the foundation’s communications and marketing strategies to inform and educate key audiences about the foundation’s mission, initiatives, programs, and activities. His responsibilities include media and public relations, multimedia content creation, web management and social media. Brett has spent most of his career in the newspaper industry, including 24 years at The Garden City Telegram in Garden City, Kan., where he was managing editor for 16 years. More recently, he served as a communications advisor for Centura Health, a Colorado-based health care system serving Colorado and western Kansas. Brett, who grew up in Garden City, has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism.
Gabrielle Talavera assists the foundation in all areas of operations, including project and RFP development, grants administration, event management, foundation education and support for special initiatives. Born and raised in Kansas City, she currently is a senior at the University of Kansas, where she is studying Community Health, with minors in Health Information Management and Human Sexuality. Gabrielle serves as a member of the Jayhawks Rising Health & Wellness Committee, where she collaborates with students and administrators to improve and develop health initiatives on campus. She also acted as an undergraduate research assistant, supporting Lawrence Douglas County Health Department and LiveWell in tobacco policy workgroup efforts. For her work in the Lawrence community, she was given the Don Henry Health Education award by the university in 2021. She began interning with the foundation in December 2021.