In the News | Month: July 2015

The Gary and Mary West Foundation Receives Generations United Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs

SAN DIEGO, CA and HONOLULU, HI (JULY 23, 2015) – Washington, D.C.-based Generations United proudly announced today that the Gary and Mary West Foundation of Solana Beach, CA is the recipient of the Generations United Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs. This award, given today at the Intergenerational Action on a Global Scale conference in Honolulu, HI, honors a funder whose support has led to significant advances in the intergenerational field.

“We are honored to present the Gary and Mary West Foundation with the Generations United Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “The foundation has been particularly instrumental in supporting the development of intergenerational programs in San Diego, such as Serving Seniors through the creation of their flagship Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, which has been recognized internationally as a model for successful aging.”

The Gary and Mary West Foundation was created in 2006 to make a significant impact on the quality of life in the community and in our country. Two of the foundation’s central areas focus on improving the quality of life of low-income older adults and helping urban youth who are not going on to college find employment. Because of this intersection, the foundation has paid particular attention to funding a variety of intergenerational programming. The foundation is also focused on creating a healthcare delivery system that provides high-quality, more accessible care at a lower cost.

“This distinguished award honors the innovative and invaluable philanthropic support the Foundation has given to intergenerational programs over the years that build bridges between young and old individuals in San Diego County, valuing their unique strengths and contributions,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Foundation. “This recognition is a result of the unwavering commitment of Gary and Mary West – the hard work and dedication of our exceptional employees at the Foundation – and all of our grantees making successful aging a reality for seniors and their loved ones.”

Other 2015 recipients of Generations United’s leadership award are: Dr. Robert Putnam, Michelle Singletary, Dr. Matt Kaplan, Dr. Alan Lai, Family Education & Support Services of Olympia, WA, ‘Iolani School, Sweet Readers, Elouise Frank, Taylor Hamai, Sandy Kraemer and Dr. Nancy Henkin.

Please click here to learn more about other award recipients.

 

About Generations United

For nearly three decades, Generations United www.gu.org has been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged.

About the Gary and Mary West Foundation

The Gary and Mary West Foundation is the second-largest private, 501(c)(3) non-operating foundation in San Diego, California and was established in 2006 by successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists Gary and Mary West. Their greatest passions are improving care for our nation’s seniors, enabling them to age successfully and transforming high-quality healthcare delivery to make it more accessible and affordable for all Americans.

The Gary and Mary West Foundation funds nonprofit organizations primarily based in San Diego, California and Omaha, Nebraska with a proven record of achieving measurable and meaningful results. Grantees share Gary’s and Mary’s commitment to enabling seniors to live their lives on their own terms with access to high-quality healthcare and supportive services that preserve and protect one’s dignity, quality of life and independence. We’re passionate about creating a healthcare delivery system that provides high-quality, more accessible care at a lower cost.

We also support the deployment of service canines to seniors and disabled veterans of the Armed forces of the United States. By working with our grantees we are making a significant, positive impact on all seniors’ lives. The Gary and Mary West Foundation develops high-impact partnerships with its nonprofit partners to make a significant impact for seniors and accepts grant applications by invitation only.

For more information, visit www.gmwf.org and follow us @GMWFoundation.

Gary and Mary West Foundation Honored for Intergenerational Work

hawaii award
Shelley Lyford accepting the award on behalf of the Gary and Mary West Foundation.

It is my pleasure to share the good news that the Gary and Mary West Foundation has been awarded the 2015 Generations United Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs. For nearly three decades, Generations United has been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together.

This distinguished award honors the innovative and invaluable philanthropic support the Foundation has given to intergenerational programs over the years that build bridges between young and old individuals in San Diego County, valuing their unique strengths and contributions. I was honored to accept it on behalf of Gary and Mary and the Foundation at the organization’s international conference today in Hawaii.

In my remarks, I underscored Gary and Mary’s dedication and passion for making successful aging a reality for seniors and their loved ones so they can live high-quality, engaged lives with choice, dignity and independence. I emphasized the importance of fact that 10,000 people turn 65 every day, which is why our collective work with our grantees is focused on improving seniors’ lives and achieving the best health outcomes for a fraction of the current cost.

The Foundation is proud of our wide array of high-impact intergenerational grants. An example of our work is a program we coordinated with Serving Seniors at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center where we brought teenagers in from neighboring communities to provide computer help and technical assistance to the Wellness Center’s elderly clients. It was a resounding success as the seniors enjoyed interacting with young people, which in turn increased the teens’ overall awareness of, and respect for, the issues facing low-income and homeless older adults.

Please join me in congratulating Gary and Mary and the Foundation for this award and thanking them for their immeasurable, selfless contributions to healthcare and our nation.

Shelley Lyford
President, Gary and Mary West Foundation

 

West Health at the White House Conference on Aging

West Health’s chief operating officer Shelley Lyford and Paul Downey, chief executive officer of Serving Seniors, attended a once-in-a-decade White House Conference on Aging, an exclusive national conference focused on the issues facing Americans as they plan for retirement, care for older loved ones, and work to improve our quality of life as we age.

Shelley and Paul_WHCOA

The goal of the White House Conference on Aging is to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans. It also marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security.

“One of the best measures of a country is how it treats its older citizens,” said President Barack Obama in his remarks at the conference. “We have to work to do more to ensure that every older American has the resources and the support they need to thrive.”

At the West Health Institute in Torrey Pines, the organization was one of four locations in San Diego to host a watch party, with the event streamed into a conference room for employees and guests, with screens setup to display the conference as well as the event’s very active social media feeds.

Lyford and Downey are the only attendees from Southern California at the approx. 200 person conference.

“We need a culture change as a nation when it comes to aging in America. Every day, each of us get older,”tweeted Lyford from the conference.

The West Health Institute was also named one of a number of collaborators with Philips on a new research center for successful aging announced today called the AgingHub.

At West Health, successful aging is enabling seniors to live their lives on their own terms with access to high-quality health and support services that preserve and protect one’s dignity, quality of life and independence.Learn more about West Health’s efforts in successful aging here.

West Health’s Nick Valeriani to Retire From Chief Executive Role; Shelley Lyford Named as Successor

SAN DIEGO, CA and WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 7, 2015 – West Health today announced that Nick Valeriani will retire from the organization’s chief executive position, effective September 4, 2015. Valeriani will remain on the Gary and Mary West Health Institute’s board of directors and will join the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center’s board. Shelley Lyford, currently the Institute’s chief operating officer and president of successful aging, will assume the role of chief executive of West Health. She also serves as president and chief executive officer of the Gary and Mary West Foundation.

Valeriani has been the organization’s chief executive since September 2012. While at West Health, he led the organization’s efforts to improve care coordination, communication and price transparency in healthcare, and was instrumental in forming the Center for Medical Interoperability, an independent, hospital-led non-profit focused on accelerating medical technology’s ability to seamlessly exchange healthcare information. His tenure at West Health culminated in the development of the organization’s successful aging strategy for our nation’s seniors.

“I am deeply honored to have led this wonderful organization in its mission to improve healthcare, which has been one of the best experiences of my 37-year career,” Valeriani said. “It is the right time for me to relinquish my day-to-day leadership responsibilities to Shelley, as we have worked to further clarify and focus our work on enabling successful aging. We have laid out a vision for West Health that builds upon our research to-date to make successful aging a reality for all seniors; it will be our North Star.”

Valeriani came to West Health after establishing himself as a visionary healthcare leader over a 34-year career with Johnson & Johnson where he led several corporate functions and was a member of the executive committee. In addition to serving on the boards of directors of the Institute and Policy Center, Valeriani currently serves on the boards of the Center for Medical Interoperability, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Edwards Lifesciences and the Reagan-Udall Foundation.

“Nick has been the right leader to shape West Health’s successful aging strategy for the future. His expertise in healthcare is second to none and we are grateful for his dedication to our organization and commitment to our mission,” said Gary West, founder and chairman of the Institute’s board of directors. “Nick’s effective leadership, counsel and stewardship have led us where we are today, and we are so pleased he will continue to support our mission by remaining on our boards.”

Lyford brings extensive experience in developing and leading world-class organizations focused on seniors. In 2007, Lyford helped launch the Gary and Mary West Foundation, which is the second largest private foundation in San Diego. In her role as its president and CEO, Lyford oversees the organization’s outcome-oriented, results-driven philanthropy, with a focus on positively impacting the health and well-being of seniors. She has led the Foundation’s senior portfolio efforts, including supporting organizations such as Serving Seniors and the flagship Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, which is hailed as an international model for successful aging.

“Shelley is passionate about helping us change the landscape for older Americans to ensure they have access to the highest quality healthcare at the lowest cost. This is the legacy that Mary and I want to leave,” said West. “Her extensive experience in aging initiatives make her the best-qualified person to lead West Health to transform healthcare so seniors can live their life on their own terms while preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence. Our boards of directors share my confidence in Shelley’s leadership as we embark on the next phase of our mission-driven work.”

Prior to her work with Gary and Mary West, Lyford was a director at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Joan Kroc Institute at the University of San Diego. Lyford currently sits on the Executive Committee of Grantmakers in Aging and is chairperson of the newly-formed Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center. Lyford has been with West Health since its initial formation in 2009.

“I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to lead West Health and advance our successful aging efforts. It is a true passion of our founders and will be our guiding light for the future,” Lyford said. “Working closely with the Gary and Mary West Foundation, West Health will solely focus on enabling successful aging for all seniors, building upon the learnings of our past medical research. With 10,000 people turning 65 every day, there is a growing need to ensure they have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare that meets their diverse needs, and we won’t rest until it becomes a reality.”

About West Health

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is dedicated to pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. Our focus is supporting and creating healthcare delivery models that enable seniors to successfully age on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.

Headquartered in San Diego with an office in Washington, D.C., West Health includes the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization and the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center. For more information, visit westhealth.org and follow us @westhealth