The head of Kansas’ largest philanthropic organization has abruptly resigned after less than a year on the job.
Teresa Miller, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation, resigned effective Friday, April 1, KHF said in a news release issued today (April 4). The news release did not say why Miller resigned or what her future plans are.
“The Board is thankful for the passion Ms. Miller brought to the work and wishes her the best in her future endeavors,” said Jeffry Jack, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to building on the Foundation’s efforts over the last few years to address health equity and know there is enormous potential to make a significant impact for future generations of Kansans.”
Miller started work at KHF in May 2021, coming to the Wichita-based nonprofit after jobs with the federal government and states of Oregon and Pennsylvania.
Under Miller, KHF put its focus squarely on racial and health equity. In March, KHF announced in that it would not be accepting applications for grants as usual, but instead would set aside $3 million for a Building Power and Equity Partnership program.
The money would be given to “those working to address racial and health equity” with a focus on:
- Communities with the greatest health disparities, specifically historically redlined communities
- Organizations led by and/or serving communities of color
- Organizations and communities focused on equitable policy outcomes
- Civic and community engagement within communities of color
In the past, KHF has given grants to a diverse list of organizations such as the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, United Way of the Plains, Camp Woods YMCA, CleanAirNow Association, Children’s Mercy Hospital, state agencies, the city of Wichita and other local governmental entities. The foundation’s website states it “is committed to meaningful results that will help gauge our progress in improving the health of all Kansans.”
Miller also started a blog for KHF called “Thoughts on Equity.” In February, she wrote that the death of C.J. Lofton, a black teen who died last September while in custody at Sedgwick County’s Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center, was caused by of “systemic racism” rather than “systems breaking down.”
Miller wrote that “tragedies like these don’t just happen. We create them through the systems we put in place. We should have seen this coming.”
In the KHF news release, Miller was quoted as saying she is “grateful for the opportunity to contribute to these efforts and look forward to seeing the work of the Foundation flourish moving forward.”
KHF was created with proceeds from the 1985 sale of Wesley Medical Center. KHF has made about $600 million in grants during its history.
KHF’s Board of Directors is actively working to determine the process for filling the vacancy left by Miller’s departure, according to the organization.