The Award

First presented by Grantmakers In Health (GIH) in 1993, the Terrance Keenan Leadership Award pays tribute to the continuous effort of those in the field of health philanthropy. It recognizes and rewards grantmakers whose thoughtful use of philanthropic dollars has had an impact on human health, at any level. Award recipients’ work should demonstrate responsiveness to the people in their communities, large or small, and particular responsiveness to those in the greatest need. It should also distinguish itself by creativity, risk-taking, and boldness toward forging permanent improvements in health. Achievements may be in any area that involves health, such as services, delivery systems, public policy, public participation, prevention, wellness, education, or communications. Results may be at the local, state, regional, national, or international level. The award carries a $5,000 honorarium.

Myechia Minter-Jordan is honored with the 2023 Terrance Keenan Leadership Award
Myechia Minter-Jordan is honored with the 2023 Terrance Keenan Leadership Award

Terrance Keenan reminded us that ‘‘creativity... is a cultivated skill, attainable only through continuous effort.’’


Leadership entails the thoughtful and creative deployment of the resources available to grantmakers. It mines the freedom inherent in philanthropy to create improvements in daily lives and to make valuable contributions in the arenas of health care, wellness, and public policy. Leadership provides the inspiration and momentum needed to address today’s pressing health issues. It also provides vision and insight into the challenges of tomorrow. Leadership entails innovation. In the face of deeply rooted problems, leaders affirm, improvise, and take risks. More importantly, they surround others with the freedom, encouragement, and knowledge to create long-term solutions for their communities.

As the field of health philanthropy has burgeoned and has itself become more complex, it faces the future with a sober sense of the magnitude of the challenges to be met. Leaders on all levels are crucial to preserve and refine the integrity of the work of health philanthropy.

By example and instruction, Terrance Keenan (1924-2009) charged us with exercising the freedom to invest in leadership and develop new institutions and systems to confront major needs. He encouraged us to embrace both the freedom to fail and the freedom to persist. Finally, he challenged grantmakers to make “their self-concept as public trusts . . . the overriding article of their faith and the guiding force of their behavior.” A generous and consummate craftsman of our trade, Terrance Keenan reminded us that “creativity... is a cultivated skill, attainable only through continuous effort.”

This annual award—established in honor of his more than 40 years of service and contributions to the field—is intended to stimulate others to strive toward this same standard of excellence and acknowledge those whose work embodies his spirit of innovation, compassion, and dedication.


The nominee must be, or have been within the last three years, an active grantmaker for at least five years with a health foundation or corporate giving program making grants in the field of health. The individual may serve as a trustee, staff member, or donor. This is not a lifetime achievement award; the award honors grantmakers whose actions embody Terrance Keenan’s philosophy whether they are in the midst of their service to the field or are at the end of their career. Current GIH board members are not eligible for nomination. The recipient must be available to participate in the award presentation during the GIH Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy.

Award Criteria

Nominators will be asked to answer the following prompts in their submission:

  • Describe the nominee’s professional journey and achievements. What makes this individual an outstanding health funder? How has this individual shown leadership and strategic vision? What have their most significant contributions to the field been thus far
  • Describe how this individual has taken risks, shown innovation, and exhibited the flexibility and creativity needed to address the nation’s most pressing health problems.
  • Describe how this individual has fostered, mentored, or inspired those working in the field.

The Selection Process

The recipient of the award is selected by a committee of up to seven grantmakers from GIH Funding Partner organizations. The committee reviews all nominations and chooses a single awardee. For those not chosen, nominators are welcome to resubmit in subsequent years. The decisions of the selection committee are final and not subject to review by the GIH board, staff, or its Funding Partners. The award recipient and nominators will be notified of the committee’s decision in March. The award will be presented during the GIH Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy.

Previous Recipients

Get inspired by watching the remarks of recent award winners


1993 Terrance Keenan
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

1994 David Packard
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

1995 Margaret E. Mahoney
The Commonwealth Fund

1996 Beverly Railey Walter
Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

1997 David P. Ross
Bank of America and Victor E. Speas Foundation

1998 Mary K. Campuzano
Kansas Health Foundation

1999 John Murphy
The Flinn Foundation

2000 No award presented.

2001 Irving B. Harris
The Harris Foundation

2002 Thomas G. David
The California Wellness Foundation

2003 Gloria R. Smith
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

2004 David A. Gould
United Hospital Fund

2005 Frank Karel
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

2006 Robert Eckardt
The Cleveland Foundation

2007 Mario Gutierrez
The California Endowment

2008 Terri Langston
Public Welfare Foundation

2009 Gary Yates
The California Wellness Foundation

2010 Mary Jane Koren
The Commonwealth Fund

2011 Drew Altman
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

2012 Margaret O’Bryon
Consumer Health Foundation

2013 James Kimmey
Missouri Foundation for Health

2014 Mark Smith
California HealthCare Foundation

2015 Gail Christopher
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

2016 Amy Berman
The John A. Hartford Foundation

2017 Chet Hewitt
Sierra Health Foundation

2018 Michael Brown
Seattle Foundation

2019 Diane Kaplan
Rasmuson Foundation

2020 Earl Maxwell
St. David’s Foundation

2021 Carolyn Wang Kong
Blue Shield of California Foundation

2022 Janice B. Yost
The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

2023 Myechia Minter-Jordan
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health

2024 Billie Hall
Sunflower Foundation


Please Contact Ann Rodgers, Program Director, with any questions.