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Riley Children's Foundation CEO Receives Indiana's Most Prestigious Award for Service

Riley Children’s Foundation President and CEO Kevin O’Keefe was honored with the most prestigious award bestowed by the Governor of Indiana, the Sagamore of the Wabash award, for his 20 years of service to the children and families who are treated at Riley Hospital for Children.

The award is named after the term “sagamore,” which was used by the American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice. The Governor presents this award to individuals who have “rendered distinguished service to the state.”

O’Keefe received the Sagamore of the Wabash award from Indiana First Lady, Janet Holcomb.

O’Keefe was presented with the award at the state capitol building on Tuesday during a ceremony recognizing the Riley Dance Marathon program for reaching the $50 million milestone in their fundraising since 1991. First Lady Janet Holcomb read a proclamation signed by the Governor declaring Tuesday, September 25 to be “Riley Dance Marathon Day” throughout the state in honor of the milestone.

“I’m so grateful. I’m surprised. I’m very humbled to be acknowledged like this,” O’Keefe stated after received the award.

“One of the reasons for being humbled is we know that the work at Riley is so important and it takes so many of us to do the work of caring for sick children throughout the state,” he added.

During his 20 years of service, O’Keefe led the Foundation through significant changes and helped to increase total donor support annually from $4 million in 1997 to $41 million in 2018. Under O’Keefe’s direction, Riley was named the #1 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraising market six years in a row, including in 2018. During the past 20 years, Riley Children’s Foundation raised over $500 million, the majority of which has been dedicated to Riley Hospital for research and the care of children and families, and the endowment and cash funds have grown from $150 million to $400 million.

O’Keefe also has served on the CMN Hospitals Board of Governors, which supports the fund raising, development and awareness functions of the organization, promotes the cause of hospitals for children throughout the business community, and attracts companies to become major financial contributors to the organization and its fund raising efforts, since November 2017.

O’Keefe recently announced that he will be retiring from the Riley Children’s Foundation effective December 31, 2018.

See the award presentation in the video below. 

LIVE from the Indiana State Capital where Governor Holcomb has declared today to be Riley Dance Marathon Day, in honor of Riley Dance Marathons collectively raising $50 million since 1991.

Posted by Dance Marathon on Tuesday, September 25, 2018