Riley Children’s Foundation Leader to Retire After 20 Years

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Kevin O'Keefe with Riley kid Brielle Hapner

Today, the Riley Children’s Foundation and the Board of Governors of the Riley Children’s Endowment announce that President and CEO Kevin O’Keefe will be retiring effective December 31, 2018, after 20 years of serving children and families who rely upon Riley Hospital for Children.

The Board will be initiating a national search for his successor. In the interim, Riley Board of Governors member Karen Ferguson Fuson has agreed to the position of Interim President and CEO.

O’Keefe has served the Foundation since 1998. During his tenure, he led and oversaw sweeping changes in the Foundation and its fundraising capacity, and total donor support increased annually from $4 million in 1997 to $41 million in 2018. Under O’Keefe’s direction, Riley was named the #1 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraising market six years in a row, including in 2018. During the past 20 years, Riley Children’s Foundation raised over $500 million, the majority of which has been dedicated to Riley Hospital for research and the care of children and families, and the endowment and cash funds have grown from $150 million to $400 million. 

O’Keefe also expanded Riley Children’s Foundation’s leadership to reach the geographic corners of Indiana to include diverse community and professional perspectives on children’s health care issues addressed by Riley. 

In making pediatric research a funding priority, the Foundation has substantially grown private funding to serve children. “Kevin has been a phenomenal partner to me and to the researchers at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research,” said Wade Clapp, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. “The funds raised by Riley Children’s Foundation during Kevin’s tenure have allowed the Wells Center to recruit outstanding research talent both nationally and internationally.”

David A. Ricks, Chairman of the Riley Board of Governors remarked, “Kevin has been an excellent partner with Riley Hospital for Children, the medical school and the Indianapolis community. He has also become a key spokesperson in the state for addressing the needs of sick children and their families. His dedication to the children of Indiana has been exceptional.”

In recapping his years of service, O’Keefe said, “It has been the honor of my life to serve the children of Indiana. Funds raised by the Foundation go to treat Hoosier children and to help their families cope with the trauma of caring for a sick child. What could be a more noble cause?” He added, “For thousands of Indiana children, Riley is the hope. I look forward to serving as a partner with Karen and the Board of Governors during the interim period and the search for a permanent successor.”

Ferguson Fuson is a long-serving Riley Board of Governors member, former President and Publisher of the Indianapolis Star, and recently returned to Indianapolis following a highly successful career as an executive with Gannett, the national news organization, most recently as Group President for the western U.S.   

About Riley Children’s Foundation

Riley Children’s Foundation is the fundraising arm of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and the founding organization that opened Riley Hospital in 1924. Today Riley Hospital is recognized as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation and is the only comprehensive children’s research hospital in the state of Indiana. Our mission is to raise funds statewide to support Riley Hospital funding priorities:  pediatric research and patient care, maternity and newborn health and family support programs. Riley Children’s Foundation also funds Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home and Billie Lou Wood Visitor Center. For more information, visit RileyKids.org.

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