Introducing the Group Health Community Foundation Board

April 18, 2017

An exciting update from Group Health Community Foundation, first introduced on Philanthropy Northwest's blog in October.

In late 2015, the member-elected Trustees of Group Health Cooperative were considering a proposed acquisition by Kaiser Permanente, and they began to design a way for Group Health’s purpose to continue and thrive. At that juncture, they appointed an interim board of directors to oversee the establishment of the new Group Health Community Foundation. Among other things, the interim board was given the humbling responsibility of identifying and selecting the long-term board of directors that would steward the aspirations and assets of the foundation.

With guidance from the search consultancy Spencer Stuart, and thoughtful insights from The Giving Practice at Philanthropy Northwest and Arabella Advisors, we launched our board search process last July. People from across the state submitted board member recommendations, resulting in more than 250 individuals being identified as prospective board members.

We sought experienced and respected leaders who are passionate about accelerating positive changes in health, reducing health disparities, and promoting health equity. We pursued candidates who are committed to authentic community engagement, knowledgeable about the complexities of social determinants of health, and eager to make courageous investments in the community. And, we looked for innovative thinkers, collaborators and social justice advocates.

We are pleased to introduce our new board of directors: a group of 16 individuals, reflective of the diverse perspectives and voices across Washington, who are committed to carrying on Group Health’s legacy of caring, innovation, excellence and equity. The Group Health Community Foundation board includes: Katie Bell, Joseph Boateng, Dr. America Bracho Perez, Susan Byington, Martha Choe, Brian Cladoosby, Dr. Benjamin Danielson, Porsche Everson, Dr. David Fleming, Leo Greenawalt, Latisha Hill, Seth Kirby, Carlos Olivares, Jan Olmstead, Peter van Oppen, and Luz Vega-Marquis.

I hope that you will take a few moments to visit our website and learn more about this remarkable group of people.

The board of directors has the incredible opportunity to engage communities across the state and determine the priorities and strategies that will shape the work of the foundation for years to come. This work begins in earnest later this month — when the board will gather for the first time to learn about each other, develop a shared understanding of the Group Health legacy, and explore the values and principles that will form the underpinnings of the board’s governance.

We will spend the remainder of 2017 identifying opportunities for learning, developing key policies, hiring staff (including a permanent CEO), and beginning to engage with communities, advocates, researchers, health and social service providers, public health professionals, policy-makers, and others who care about advancing health and health policy across Washington.

Cory Sbarbaro is acting president & CEO of the Group Health Community Foundation.