MFH Announces Bob Hughes’ Retirement



Media Contact:
Courtney Z. Stewart
Missouri Foundation for Health
(314) 345-5505


Foundation CEO Announces Retirement
MFH to launch a national search in the fall of this year

ST. LOUIS, MO (June 25, 2020) – Missouri Foundation for Health President and CEO Bob Hughes announced today that he will retire from MFH next year. During his time at MFH, Hughes has enhanced the strategic direction of the Foundation’s work and positioned it to be a catalyst for change throughout the region.

Under his leadership, MFH has evolved from a grantmaker to a systems-level changemaker. A new mission was adopted, core values were defined, MFH’s work gained national recognition, and a new headquarters was built in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, to only name a few related achievements. Hughes was appointed president and CEO of MFH in 2012, taking over leadership from Dr. James Kimmey, who had served as the Foundation’s president and CEO upon its founding in 2000. Hughes came to MFH with 30 years of experience in philanthropic leadership, public health, and health policy. He had previously worked as a visiting research professor in the Center for State Health Policy, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey. From 1990 to 2010, he held positions at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, including vice president and chief learning officer.

A native of Illinois, Hughes earned a doctorate in behavioral sciences from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Hygiene and Public Health; a master’s degree in student development from Ohio State University’s College of Education, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and religion from DePauw University. Prior to RWJF, Hughes was an assistant professor of health administration and policy at Arizona State University and a Pew Postdoctoral Fellow in health policy at the University of California-San Francisco. He has published extensively, focusing mostly on philanthropic learning, the effect of grantmaking on improving health and health care, and health policy issues.

“In addition to all his accolades and accomplishments, most wouldn’t know that Bob is a great dancer,” said Andwele Jolly, MFH Board chair. “Like his movements on the dance floor, Bob’s graceful, passionate, and poised leadership has transformed the Foundation to an organization that focuses on addressing the systems of inequities that prevent us all from reaching our full potential and thriving as a community.” Jolly added, “With each step and turn, Bob has positioned the Foundation to be the model for how philanthropy can be a catalyst for meaningful change. I thank Bob for his years of service and dedication to the Foundation and wish him the best as he waltzes into his next chapter.”

Since joining the Foundation, Hughes has focused on fostering a culture of learning, exploration, and collaboration internally with his staff and has continued to reinforce the importance of partnership and collective efforts externally, in order to achieve equity and make progress toward a healthier Missouri.

“My time at MFH has been nothing less than extraordinary,” said Hughes. “As I reflect on my years at the Foundation, I am extremely proud of all that we’ve learned and accomplished as a team. The staff, Board, and Community Advisory Council are doing excellent work that is truly making a difference in the health and well-being of our state. The partnerships we’ve formed and the relationships we’ve built have unquestionably strengthened our work and aided in our growth, and for that, I’m grateful. While this decision is bittersweet for me, I am looking forward to the next phase of my life. “

A national search, which is due to launch in the fall of this year, will be conducted for his successor.

Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding. To learn more please visit