James Kimmey Selected 2013 Terrance Keenan Award Recipient
November 29, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC — James R. Kimmey, MD, MPH, former founding president and CEO of the Missouri Foundation for Health, has been selected the 2013 recipient of Grantmakers In Health's (GIH) Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy. The award pays tribute to health grantmakers whose work is distinguished by leadership, innovation, and achievement, as well as creativity, risk taking, and boldness.
Dr. Kimmey began his tenure at the Missouri Foundation for Health in 2001 without an office, staff, or funding strategy. Under his leadership, the foundation became the largest health-focused grantmaker in Missouri, awarding $50 million annually. As a foundation leader, he "pushed the envelope repeatedly"; encouraged staff to explore the "what if"; and actively embraced partnerships among funders, disparate groups, and agencies. He also encouraged and challenged grantmakers to be creative, to engage communities, and to favor action over long discussion.
"Dr. Kimmey's ability to recognize opportunity and blend it effectively within a vision and workable funding framework is an important skill he has brought to the world of philanthropy," according to K. Beth Johnson, Missouri Foundation for Health board chair, who nominated Dr. Kimmey for the award. Seizing opportunity and innovative grantmaking were hallmarks of his leadership, from addressing health workforce shortages and establishing the foundation as the nonpartisan voice in Missouri on health issues, to providing free HPV vaccines to thousands of Missouri women and girls, as well as crafting health literacy efforts. He was also instrumental in major programs and projects such as Missouri Capture, which assists organizations applying for federal funding available for health and prevention programs, and Cover Missouri, a project that promotes quality, affordable health coverage for state residents.
Innovative grantmaking, however, did not always mean "new" to Dr. Kimmey who once pointed out, "There are already hundreds of good programs out there that are providing wonderful services to thousands of people every day. The real tragedy would be if those services suddenly stopped." At his urging, the foundation allocates 20 percent of annual grantmaking toward already-established programs.
Current Missouri Foundation for Health President and CEO Robert Hughes, who worked with Terrance Keenan and Dr. Kimmey, described them both as humble, amazingly persistent, and devoting "considerable energy on helping the most vulnerable."
"He is at his best when he is advocating for a policy or program that is controversial and on the cutting edge," added Steve Roling, president and CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
Dr. Kimmey, who retired from the foundation in 2011, currently is professor emeritus in public health and executive-in-residence at Saint Louis University's School of Public Health. He will be presented the award at the 2013 GIH Annual Meeting on Health Philanthropy, March 13-15, in San Francisco, California.
GIH established the Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in 1993 in honor of Terrance Keenan and his more than 40 years of service and contributions to the field of health philanthropy.