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UPDATED: The Harvest Foundation chooses Cincinnati woman as new leader

UPDATED: The Harvest Foundation chooses Cincinnati woman as new leader

From the Martinsville-region COVID-19/coronavirus daily update from state, nation and world: June 20 series

The Harvest Foundation Board of Directors has selected a health foundation executive from Cincinnati to serve as the organization’s president.

Kathryn E. “Kate” Keller will begin her new role July 15, according to a news release from the foundation. She will succeed Allyson Rothrock, who announced her plans to retire in November after serving as president since 2008. Rothrock had been with the foundation in various leadership roles since it began in 2002.

Keller comes to The Harvest Foundation with more than 20 years of experience at Interact for Health, a private, health-focused foundation in Cincinnati. She most recently served as the organization’s vice president of strategy and policy. Prior to that, her roles include vice president of policy and external relations, senior program officer, and program officer.

The Harvest Foundation board contracted with firm Korn Ferry to conduct what board Chairman David Stone called “an exhaustive nationwide search.” Initially, they received more than 200 applications from across the country.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kate Keller to The Harvest Foundation and to Martinsville-Henry County,” Stone said in the release. “Kate demonstrated a deep appreciation for our community and a commitment to growing the next chapter of grantmaking at the foundation. She has an extensive background in strategy development and execution, in addition to managing a large grants portfolio. We couldn’t be more excited for Kate to join the Harvest family.”

The coronavirus outbreak does not seem to have delayed the original timeline for finding Rothrock’s replacement, although Stone said, “COVID presented some real challenges as we entered the final phases of our search process.”

This included conducting all meetings of the board and search committee via Zoom, as well as the finalist interviews.

“It was not until the very end of the process that two finalists made the trip to the area for face-to-face meetings and to see the area. Masks and social distancing were all part of the process,” Stone said.

Stone declined to share salary information for the new president. Keller’s LinkedIn profile shows she left Interact for Health in January 2019 and began a consulting firm focused on “guiding strategy development for nonprofit and health care organizations.”

In her previous work, the news release stated, Keller worked to execute Interact for Health’s strategic plan, grantmaking and communications strategy, in addition to coordinating its policy and information teams. She implemented several initiatives totaling more than $22 million that increased school-based health care services throughout the greater Cincinnati area, including opening 24 school-based health centers, and launched a comprehensive public education campaign informing the community about the Affordable Care Act.

“I am passionate about enhancing a community’s vitality and health,” Keller stated in the release. “I am deeply honored to join such a committed organization and look forward to using my experience to work with the dedicated staff, board and partners to advance the goals of our region.”

Keller received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Michigan University. Interact for Health named the Keller Fellowship in her honor in 2018, and she received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Assembly on School-Based Healthcare in 2012.

Keller was also named to the 40 Under 40 list by the Cincinnati Business Courier, and she was a member of the 39th class of Leadership Cincinnati.

She will be relocating with her husband, Craig, and their son, Charlie, along with their French bulldog, Boomer. Their daughter, Allie, attends Ohio State University.

Kim Barto Meeks is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at 276-638-8801.

Kim Barto Meeks is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at 276-638-8801.

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