Our Founders

Gary & Mary West

Creating a Lasting Legacy of Improved Healthcare for 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 others – 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 dedicated to improving the lives of seniors. Gary and Mary established West Health, three nonprofit organizations all with a singular mission of enabling 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 495 outcomes-based grants totaling more than $198 million for programs that share the goal of enabling successful aging for our nation’s seniors, especially those who are the 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 and Advocacy

Established in 2012, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington D.C. provides research and education to advance senior-centered healthcare delivery and payment policy. The Policy Center, solely funded by Gary and Mary West, collaborates with the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, Gary and Mary West Foundation and other organizations to enable seniors to successfully age in place, with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services.

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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, November 2016