Grantmakers In Health Announces 2019 Award Winners

Grantmakers In Health (GIH) is pleased to announce Diane Kaplan, President and CEO of the Rasmuson Foundation, as the 2019 recipient of the Terrance Keenan Leadership Award, and Benet Magnuson, Executive Director of Kansas Appleseed, as the 2019 recipient of the Andy Hyman Award for Advocacy. Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Magnuson exemplify the core values of both awards and have made innumerable contributions to the fields of health and health care. The awards will be presented to Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Magnuson at the 2019 GIH Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy in Seattle, Washington.

Diane Kaplan to Be Honored with Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy

Diane Kaplan, President and CEO of the Rasmuson Foundation, will receive the Grantmakers In Health (GIH) 2019 Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy. The award recognizes outstanding health grantmakers whose work is distinguished by leadership, innovation, and outstanding achievement. 
Under Ms. Kaplan’s leadership over the past 17 years, the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska’s largest philanthropy dedicated to improving life for Alaskans, has grown from supporting important capital projects to taking on some of the state’s thorniest, long-standing challenges, such as homelessness, excessive use of alcohol, and access to health care. In a state with hundreds of tiny villages separated by vast distance and difference in language, culture, and law, Ms. Kaplan is known for practicing true grassroots philanthropy, organizing the foundation’s planning around listening sessions, where staff, trustees, and advisors hear directly from community members. “Diane is a visionary leader, unafraid to tackle the toughest problems requiring complex approaches and partnerships,” said Nancy Kaufman, Principal of The Strategic Vision Group, in her nomination of Ms. Kaplan. “She cares deeply about those experiencing health disparities and boldly refuses to work from the top down, preferring collaborations with community voices and leaders.” 
It is this leadership style that has allowed Ms. Kaplan to secure a number of local, state, and national partnerships for the foundation, as well as collaborations with providers and residents. Her efforts to engage executives of health systems, Alaskan Native corporations, and state government agencies—as well as prominent legislative leaders, judges, law enforcement officials, and foundations—resulted in the formation of Recover Alaska, a statewide effort dedicated to changing social norms on drinking, promoting treatment options, and advocating for strong policies and laws. Ms. Kaplan was also an early champion of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s work to introduce the first successful dental therapist workforce in the United States. With support from the Rasmuson Foundation—and the tireless efforts of Ms. Kaplan, who leveraged partnerships, assessments, and funding to build support for the program—Alaska Native communities have greater access to culturally appropriate dental education and routine dental services. Ms. Kaplan has also led formal collaborative interchanges within health philanthropy. In 2008, she ensured start-up support to form the Funders Oral Health Policy Group, which has grown to a working group of over thirty funders working to improve access to oral health services, and advocating for new state-based dental therapy legislation based on the Alaska model. 
Ms. Kaplan has served in leadership roles on a number of boards, including national and regional philanthropy boards. She is a member of the boards of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, The Alaska Community Foundation, and United States Artists. She is also a member of the Anchorage Homelessness Leadership Council and the Anchorage Rotary Club. Her additional board experience includes work for the Alaska Community Foundation, the Alaska Children’s Trust, and the University of Alaska Anchorage Honors College. She has also served on the boards of the Council on Foundations, Philanthropy Northwest, the Anchorage Community Land Trust, and the United Way of Anchorage, among others. 
Ms. Kaplan’s contributions have been recognized by a number of institutions, including the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Athena Society, Alaska Public Radio Network, Alaska Broadcasters Association, and YWCA. In 2018, she was a recipient of a Lifetime Champion for Kids award from the Alaska Children’s Trust, and in 2013 she received the First Alaskans Institute Ted Stevens Award. Ms. Kaplan was named the Council on Foundations Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year in 2007, and in 2006 received the Alaska Federation of Natives’ prestigious Denali Award, which recognizes a non-Native individual who has contributed to the growth and development of the Alaska Native community’s culture, economy and health. She was also recognized with the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women Shining Star Award in 2010.
GIH established the Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy in 1993 in honor of Terrance Keenan and his more than 40 years of contributions to the field of health philanthropy. The award will be presented to Ms. Kaplan on June 13, 2019 at the GIH Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy in Seattle, Washington.


Benet Magnuson to Be Honored with Andy Hyman Award for Advocacy

Benet Magnuson, Executive Director of Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, will receive Grantmakers In Health’s 2019 Andy Hyman Award for Advocacy. The award pays tribute to advocacy grantees who embody Andy Hyman’s commitment to principled action, passionate leadership to advance social change, and dedication to making progress in policy and practice despite challenging political environments.

For the last five years, Mr. Magnuson has served as Executive Director of Kansas Appleseed, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated to vulnerable and excluded Kansans. The organization investigates social, economic, and political injustice in Kansas and work toward systemic solutions, serving as a voice for the public at large and for individuals and groups who are without effective legal representation. Under his leadership, Kansas Appleseed has grown from a staff of one to a staff of thirteen, plus a robust internship program, and from an annual budget of $50,000 to an annual budget of $850,000.

Mr. Magnuson is described as an exemplary Executive Director, who demonstrates strategic thinking and foresight, and has contributed to building the Kansas nonprofit landscape, providing training opportunities and building the capacities of advocates across the state. Nominator Steve Coen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas Health Foundation, characterized the work of Kansas Appleseed over the last five years as “nothing short of extraordinary,” and stated that “Kansas has made incredible progress towards addressing health equity and social determinants of health over the last few years [which] would not have been possible without Benet Magnuson,” and his leadership, vision, and tenacity.

Collaborative in nature, Mr. Magnuson has infused his orientation towards collective impact into Kansas Appleseed’s work. Nonprofits across Kansas rely on his strategic acumen and are eager to partner with Kansas Appleseed, and his collaborative nature continues to be demonstrated through his commitment to partner with advocates and government, Democrats and Republicans, policymakers and community members. The results of those collaborations lead to impactful policy wins and admiration from often-unlikely sources. Forming and leading the Kansas Food Security Roundtable, Kansas Organizing and Advocacy Collaborative, or Kansans for Smart Justice Coalition, Mr. Magnuson’s leadership is felt throughout the state.

Mr. Magnuson is a native of Lawrence, Kansas and is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. From the very beginning, his career has been dedicated to nonprofit advocacy on behalf of impoverished and excluded communities. Prior to joining Kansas Appleseed in August 2013, Mr. Magnuson worked as an attorney for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, and national Appleseed’s immigration financial justice project. His pro bono representations include immigration, criminal, public housing, domestic violence, and family law cases. As a certified mediator, Mr. Magnuson has conducted over a hundred mediations of public housing, family, and small claims disputes and provided dispute resolution trainings to a wide range of clients, including a school district’s special education department, a city’s energy task force, a Boston roller derby league, public housing, and the United States military. While working in Texas, Mr. Magnuson founded PRISMS, a writing program for inmates in Texas jails. 

GIH established the Andy Hyman Award for Advocacy in 2016 in honor of Andy Hyman and his remarkable life and career. The award will be presented to Mr. Magnuson on June 14, 2019 at the GIH Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy in Seattle, Washington.


About Grantmakers In Health

Grantmakers In Health (GIH) is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to helping foundations and corporate giving programs improve the health of all people. Its mission is to foster communication and collaboration among grantmakers and others, and to help strengthen the grantmaking community's knowledge, skills, and effectiveness. To learn more, visit