Contact: Kathy Reincke
AUSTIN, Texas. –Dr. Gail C. Christopher, vice president for policy and senior advisor for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), today was awarded the esteemed Grantmakers in Health’s (GIH) Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy during their annual conference.
“Gail is a courageous, dedicated and effective leader who has already contributed much not only to the field of philanthropy, but to the larger social justice community,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, who nominated Christopher for the award.
One of Christopher’s most significant contributions to philanthropy has been her vision for America Healing, a $75 million effort to foster racial healing, dismantle structural inequalities, overcome unconscious bias and create equitable opportunities for all children in education, health and well-being and economic security.
Christopher joined the Kellogg Foundation in 2007 as vice president for program strategy, and held responsibilities for direction and leadership of the racial equity; food, health and well-being; community and civic engagement; and leadership portfolios. Her expertise and experience with developing initiatives to address the social determinants of health led to the development of several key portfolios at the foundation, including improving healthy birth outcomes.
“The Terrance Keenan Award is a wonderful honor recognizing Gail’s leadership of some key initiatives at the Kellogg Foundation. She brought a wealth of health equity and social justice expertise, research and experience to the Kellogg Foundation and to our grantees,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Her life’s work has embraced undoing the injustices of conscious and unconscious racism, and structural inequities that impede the overall health and well-being of children and families of color.”
Previously, Christopher served as vice president at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and led their Health Policy Institute, a multi-year initiative created to engage racial and ethnic minorities in health policy discussions. While there she was also instrumental in the development of the policy recommendations with the Dellums Commission to address health disparities faced by young men of color across the nation. She also served as the director of the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Christopher currently authors a Huffington Post column, in addition to the more than 250 articles, presentations and publications she’s penned throughout her career. She has been interviewed by national print and broadcast media outlets, and acknowledged with numerous awards, including those from the Congressional Black Caucus, Society of Public Health Education and the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs.
She holds a doctor of naprapathy degree from the Chicago National College of Naprapathy in Illinois. She is president of the Board of Directors of the Trust for America’s Health.
In 2003, Dr. Gloria R. Smith, a former vice president for health at WKKF received this prestigious award from GIH.
As a founder of GIH, Terrance Keenan was known for his leadership, innovation and compassion, with a career of more than 50 years in philanthropy. The Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy was established in 1993, to honor his significant contributions to the field and inspire other grantmakers in the pursuit of excellence.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.