Our Founders

Gary and Mary West

Creating a Lasting Legacy of Lowering Healthcare Costs to Enable Successful Aging for our Nation’s Seniors

More than 30 years ago, entrepreneurs Gary and Mary West founded West Corporation, a technology-driven communications company based in Omaha, Nebraska and grew it to 30,000 employees. After retiring, the Wests turned their passion and energy to philanthropic initiatives dedicated to making a significant, lasting impact on lowering the cost of healthcare and improving care for older adults – specifically low-income seniors. Based on their personal experience working with this vulnerable population, Gary and Mary know first-hand the hard choices seniors are forced to make every single day – choices they shouldn’t have to – such as paying their rent or buying their medicine. These individuals lack access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.

As successful entrepreneurs, the Wests have started a number of pioneering philanthropic initiatives. Gary and Mary established West Health, a family of three nonprofit organizations all with a singular mission of lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence.

2006 | Outcomes-based Philanthropy

Established in 2006 by Gary and Mary West, the Gary and Mary West Foundation is proud to be one of only six private foundations, out of 105,000 in the United States, solely focused on addressing the needs of vulnerable seniors. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than 700 outcomes-based grants totaling nearly $280 million for programs that lower the cost of healthcare to enable successful aging, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

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2009 | Applied Medical Research

In 2009, Gary and Mary West created the nonpartisan, nonprofit Gary and Mary West Health Institute, which conducts applied medical research to generate the evidence needed for healthcare providers, policymakers and communities to adopt models of care that better serve seniors and their families. The organization is committed to supporting and creating healthcare delivery models that improve care and access while reducing costs for our fast-growing, diverse population of seniors.

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2012 | Policy, Research and Education

The nonprofit, nonpartisan West Health Policy Center is focused on research and education to identify innovations and policy solutions that can slow the trajectory of rising healthcare costs while improving access to—and the quality of—care, particularly for our nation’s growing population of seniors. Specific areas of focus include reducing growth in U.S. spending on prescription drugs, promoting value-based care models, increasing price transparency, and limiting consumer exposure to high out-of-pocket costs.

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“Ten years from today, we won’t even be able to imagine how many seniors we will have helped to have a much better life.” Gary West