Bridget McCandless: ‘My final week at Health Forward’

Health Forward associates celebrate Bridget McCandless before her retirement was an After the Harvest KC volunteer day. We gleaned 1,000 pounds of apples at Cider Hill Family Orchard! Health Forward associates celebrate Bridget McCandless before her retirement was an After the Harvest KC volunteer day. We gleaned 1,000 pounds of apples at Cider Hill Family Orchard!

This week is my last as president/CEO of Health Forward Foundation. 

While my commitment to the mission of Health Forward will continue to be a guiding force in my life, this marks the formal end of what has been a 15-year relationship with this foundation, first as an inaugural board member, then a grantee, and finally CEO. 

As I look back and celebrate, I’m struck at how easy it is for us to be consumed by our day-to-day work. We don’t take nearly enough time to step back and look at what we, collectively, have done to redefine health in our region. 

Health Forward has taught me much in these 15 years. 

The job of philanthropy is to think about the long run. It’s about fostering system change. It’s about durable effect. So that when we leave, we know that what we left behind is better than where we started. It truly takes an entire village to make that happen. 

So in this final post, I must acknowledge the Health Forward village and how grateful I am that you are a part of my journey. 

I’m grateful to work with a board and Community Advisory Committee that are ambassadors and champions for those most in need. They bring tremendous dedication, guidance, and commitment to our work. 

I’m grateful to our partners — for your collaborative spirit, your creativity, your problem-solving, and for raising the voice of others who are so often ignored. 

I’m grateful to my colleagues who come with their passionate hearts to work each and every day to celebrate what is best in Kansas City and look for ways to make it even better. 

I am grateful that Health Forward has a solid, interim leader in CFO Rick Zimmer while the board’s capable Search Committee finds my replacement. His leadership allows me the freedom to step away from Health Forward.

It has been an honor to lead Health Forward. While I’m ready to enter a new phase of life, I know that Health Forward will continue as a stalwart advocate for those in need. I know that Health Forward will continue to uphold the founding principles of compassion, inclusion, diversity, and stewardship. And I know that your way forward will be marked with integrity and an unwavering vision of healthy people in healthy communities.

We are so privileged to do the work that we’ve been entrusted with. Thank you for letting me be a part of that. 


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5 thoughts on “Bridget McCandless: ‘My final week at Health Forward’

    We will miss you, Bridget! You and Steve Roling each brought special gifts to HFF. I know you will continue to use your gifts of experience serving the underserved and knowledge of the healthcare system and policies to advocate for change. Best wishes as you take time to care for your family and yourself. Life is short.

    It was a great pleasure to meet you and work with you on various “good works” over the years! Best wishes for a happy and healthy future! Lafayette County is better for having known you!

    Bridget, dear–many thanks for 15 years of service!!!! I can’t believe you’ve been there that long–and I loved seeing the pictures–so many dear friends, all such good people!!! We are the most fortunate people in the world to have such friends.
    So here’s the best to you–and may these years always leave a warm spot in your heart.

    What a legacy you will leave. Thank you for all you have done to advance health across our community and across the region. Wishing you nothing but the best in what lies ahead. You will be missed.

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Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006