Spectrum Health Foundation Names Art of Giving Award Recipients

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 18, 2018The Spectrum Health Foundation honored Dr. James and Gail Fahner with its Art of Giving Award at the Foundation’s Annual Celebration of Philanthropy Thank You Dinner on September 27.

Established in 1989, the award is presented annually to individuals demonstrating extraordinary volunteer service, leadership and commitment to improving the health of our communities.

“Jim and Gail Fahner are two incredibly gracious people, who are incessant givers of themselves for the betterment of others,” said Vicki Weaver, president, Spectrum Health Foundation. “They embody and epitomize the Art of Giving Award. We are fortunate they decided to come to Spectrum Health and specifically, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.”

Dr. Fahner is the founding and current division chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and the Spectrum Health Medical Group. He also serves as associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics/Human Development at Michigan State University.  Gail Fahner is an active community and hospital volunteer, past-president of the Blodgett-Butterworth Hospital Auxiliary and a current member of the Junior Golden Rule Guild.

“In acknowledging Jim and Gail, it’s hard to know where to begin. The majority of the accomplishments reflect involvement from both Jim and Gail,” said Weaver. “Just speak with one of them and you discover they are in this together.”

Gail Fahner has provided leadership for the Spectrum Health Foundation Gala planning committee for many years, and is a supporter of Hospice of Michigan. For several years, she served as the parent representative for sideline and competitive cheerleading, and volunteered in concessions at Forest Hills Northern High School.

Dr. Fahner was instrumental in establishing a pediatric hospice program at a time when those services focused solely on adult patients. This Hospice of Michigan program was named the James B. Fahner Pediatric Hospice Program in 2011 in honor of his advocacy and tireless work on behalf of children nearing the end of their lives.

Dr. Fahner’s community service includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Spectrum Health Board Committee for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the Hospice of Michigan Foundation Board, the Van Andel Research Institute and VAI Graduate School Boards of Trustees, the Executive Board of the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan, and serving as state medical advisor for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. In 2015, Dr. Fahner was asked to serve as the first chairman of the new National Medical Advisory Council for Make-A-Wish America.

Dr. Fahner is also the past-chairman of the Spectrum Health Medical Group Board of Directors, past-president of the Board of Education for Forest Hills Public Schools and former chairman of the board of Hospice of Michigan. Previous board service also includes the Michigan Community Blood Centers Foundation and the West Michigan Ronald McDonald House.

Dr. Fahner is the recipient of the Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Maker Award, the Philip McCorkle Child Advocacy Award, the Hillman Award, the Crystal Rose Award, the 2010 William Montgomery Award as Pediatrician of the Year from the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the David and Carol Van Andel Community Leadership Award.

The Fahners were the catalyst for creating the Wizard’s Ball, which benefits the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Make-A-Wish® Michigan. To date, more than 550 children and families from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital have had wishes granted.




The Spectrum Health Foundation endeavors to save lives and promote health through philanthropy.  Since 1998, donors have contributed more than $409 million to bolster Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit health system comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.  Because of our generous donors, approximately $18 million in philanthropy is distributed annually to support of research, innovation, clinical care and other services to patients and families.

Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,200 medical staff experts, 3,200 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 230 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $483 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2018. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

Tim Hawkins
Media Relations
Office: 616.486.6091
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