Northwest Health CEO to Leave for Larger Seattle-Based Foundation

Nichole June Maher will leave this summer, after six years leading the Northwest Health Foundation.

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The president and CEO of Portland-based Northwest Health Foundation is resigning effective Aug. 3 to lead Group Health Foundation of Seattle.

In an email sent Wednesday morning to supporters, the Northwest Health Foundation announced that its board will work with an executive search committee to identify Nichole June Maher’s successor.

“We know Nichole is the right person to lead GHF’s work,” the foundation wrote in its email. “Over the last six years at NWHF, Nichole led the foundation through a significant transformation. After years of giving to healthcare systems, mainstream nonprofits and research institutions, we shifted our approach to partnering with community-led organizations that focus on changing policies and systems. We increased our giving to communities of color, rural communities and disability communities significantly, and started to make better use of our 501(c)(4) resources.”

Maher also included a statement in the email to supporters.

“It is hard for me to leave Northwest Health Foundation and for my family to leave the place we've called home for so long,” she wrote. “I also know that while a river may separate us, Washington and Oregon face many challenges in health equity together. I look forward to working on those challenges in my new role at Group Health Foundation. And I know that the many friendships I've forged, and community partnerships Northwest Health Foundation has created throughout our region, will endure. The staff and board at the Foundation are such an inspiration to me. I’ll miss them all dearly.”

The nonprofit Northwest Health Foundation was founded from the proceeds of a 1997 sale of a nonprofit health plan to a for-profit corporation. It has assets of roughly $62 million, and a mission to advance, support, and promote health in Oregon and southwest Washington.

Group Health Foundation has similar origins, though it is newer to the work and has deeper financial resources -- $1.72 billion in assets, funded in 2017 with the profits from Group Health Cooperative’s sale to Kaiser Permanente. Its mission is to shape and accelerate efforts to improve health equity and advance community aspirations for a vibrant, healthy future in Washington.

Reach Courtney Sherwood at sherwood@thelundreport.org.