LMH Health Foundation, local nonprofits to host a communitywide celebration of women in philanthropy

More than 40 local nonprofit organizations will come together later this month for PhilanthroSHE, an opportunity to network, hear from some local nonprofit leaders and celebrate female philanthropists.

The event is scheduled for Jan. 29 at the Jayhawk Club, 1809 Birdie Way. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a networking reception, and the main program will start at 6:15. Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who also served as Kansas’ 44th governor, will be the keynote speaker.

The event is intended to celebrate the role philanthropy plays in helping community organizations fulfill their vision — especially those working in the areas of health and wellness. It was inspired, in part, by female philanthropists throughout Lawrence’s history, said Rebecca Smith, vice president of strategic communications for LMH Health and executive director of the LMH Health Foundation.

“When we began planning for the LMH Health Foundation’s 50th anniversary many months ago, I found myself thinking a lot about LMH Health’s founding philanthropists, especially the Social Service League and Elizabeth Watkins,” Smith said. “Ms. Watkins and the League’s formative members weren’t just integral to the hospital’s development, but to many other organizations as well. About the same time, I came across a quotation from another generous supporter of so many nonprofits in our community, Tensie Oldfather. She said, ‘We’re all in this together.'”

Smith said that although research shows that women make a vast majority of decisions regarding philanthropic giving today, she believes that Lawrence and Douglas County were well ahead of the curve thanks to women such as Watkins and Oldfather.

“We have dozens of examples of women coming together and making a huge difference over the past 100 years, well before it was considered commonplace,” Smith said. “And, we know that our donors support not just the hospital, but many nonprofits in Douglas County, much like Elizabeth Watkins. We’re grateful for that, and we want them to know that our nonprofit leaders know that we can accomplish a lot more by working together.”

In addition to Sebelius, the program will feature remarks from Elizabeth Keever, executive director of local food bank Just Food; Anna Stubblefield, deputy superintendent at Lawrence Public Schools; Erica Hill, finance and operations manager for the LMH Health Foundation; Nicole Rials, urgent care director at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center; Nancy Jackson, founder of Generous Change; and Russ Johnson, president and CEO of LMH Health.

Keever said she hoped the event would highlight how interconnected local philanthropic organizations really are.

“Food insecurity is not a stand-alone issue; it is a health care issue. No one agency alone can serve the full needs of a patient,” said Keever, who has led a partnership with LMH Health to ensure that clinic and emergency room patients have access the healthy food needed for recovery. “We hope that by sharing examples of the collaborations underway among nonprofits to address social determinants of health like food scarcity, we can begin to chart a path forward — together.”

And Jackson said that over the last year, Douglas County has indicated that it’s time for a new approach to a healthier community.

“That means attending to housing, food security and behavioral health alongside traditional health care,” Jackson said. “LMH Health is leading the way toward that future with vibrant local partnerships. Philanthropists — all of us who give to local nonprofits — play a vital role in building our healthy future.”

Though the event provides an opportunity to recognize the significant role that women specifically have played in community leadership and philanthropy, both men and women can learn something from the event, said Jason Hoover, a past president of the LMH Health Foundation board of directors who is helping organizers with the event.

“We can learn a lot about the future by observing the past, and women have set an exceptional example,” Hoover said. “… We look forward to bringing together men and women — the donors, volunteers and supporters from dozens of nonprofits — to discuss the future of health care collaborations and of philanthropy.”

Heather Hoy, director of philanthropy and community relations at the Douglas County Community Foundation, said she was looking forward to hearing from attendees at the event.

“It’s important to understand what a healthy community looks like from the perspective of our community’s philanthropists, especially as we embark on new collaborations and initiatives,” said Hoy, who led planning for three community meetings that the Douglas County Community Foundation held last year on a variety of health- and social welfare-related topics. “Philanthropy can be a catalyst as we work together for a healthier Douglas County.”

Smith also hoped that the event would help attendees see the community impact of philanthropy.

“I’m grateful for the women who have come together to help plan this important event, and I hope our attendees come to understand just how important their support has been and will continue to be as we work together to attain real community health,” Smith said. “We’ll accomplish so much more by working together.”

The event is free and open to the public, though registration is required. Call 785-505-5005 or visit www.lmh.org/PhilanthroSHE for details.

• Autumn Bishop is marketing communications manager for LMH Health, which is a major sponsor of Lawrence Journal-World’s health section. She can be reached at autumn.bishop@lmh.org.


If you go

PhilanthroSHE: A collaborative event hosted by the LMH Health Foundation and more than 40 local nonprofits

Reception begins at 5:30 p.m., program begins at 6:15 p.m. Jan. 29 at The Jayhawk Club, 1809 Birdie Way

The event is free; register online at lmh.org/PhilanthroSHE or by calling 785-505-5005. All are welcome.


— Autumn Bishop is marketing communications manager for LMH Health, which is a major sponsor of the Lawrence Journal-World’s health section. She can be reached at autumn.bishop@lmh.org.

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