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We invite you to learn more about Cerner Charitable Foundation (formerly First Hand) and the donors, volunteers and partners who make it all possible.

A Giving Culture in a Corporate World


Published on 12/16/2019

First Hand has always been a way for Cerner associates to give back to the community around them and fill the gaps in health care that they see in their roles. If you ask Cerner leadership, you’ll discover that First Hand is more than just a part of what Cerner does – it is the heart and soul of the organization.

First Hand and the culture at Cerner…how do they fit together?

“An important part of Cerner’s culture has always been to be a positive force, contributing to our communities, whether it’s where we work and raise our families or, worldwide, in pursuit of our mission to improve health and health care,” Randy Sims states.

During his time as an Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Randy has made it a part of the Legal team’s culture to give back however they can. Volunteering and taking the opportunity to bring an entire team together is time well spent, particularly when it is for something he refers to as “a great cause.”

“Cerner associates are passionate about health care and how we can improve it going forward. First Hand does exactly that by giving hundreds of children an opportunity at a better life. It’s very rewarding to see how those children thrive in the weeks and months after receiving help. We have the same type of passion for our clients. It produces a good feeling when we help them achieve the type of outcomes that they expect when they buy Cerner,” observes Sam Pettijohn, Senior Vice President, Client Relationships.

It takes all of us to make a difference for our communities around the world. How are you “All Hands In” with First Hand?

Ben Hilmes acknowledged that, “It’s so much more than just financial support. You support First Hand with your heart, your time, and your voice. There are very few Cerner-focused conversations I have where First Hand doesn’t come up. It’s such an important part of our DNA and in many ways defines who we are.”

As a Senior Vice President of Client Relationships with some of Cerner’s largest clients, Ben sees many places where First Hand programs can be introduced and grown in the communities where Cerner associates reside. “Every kid in the world should be able to get a wellness screening. If everyone can help one kid, it’s amazing the reach we can have,” he observed.

Why would you encourage other associates to be “All Hands In?”

In her tenure at Cerner, Julie Wilson has been one of First Hand’s greatest advocates, and she recognizes the impact getting involved can have on individuals and their teams. “You can see the direct impact of your contributions, whether financially, physically or emotionally – you can make a difference. By getting involved through team events or individually, you join a community doing amazing work to help others.”

There are many ways to get involved and experience what it means to truly give back and impact someone’s life. She continued, “If you don’t know as much about First Hand as you’d like, reach out and spend some time with a member of the team. Dig deep to see what’s possible and how you can be a part of it. I think you’ll find it to be a rewarding and meaningful part of your life.”

Joanne Burns, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, recalled the unique satisfaction that you get from having an impact in people’s lives. “As a community of associates we want to give back and, with First Hand, we have a great opportunity to do so. There’s something very gratifying in contributing to a good cause.”

Is there anything else you want to share with the associates about First Hand?

When considering this question Ed Enyeart, Senior Vice President of Finance, noted that our culture is the output of our collective achievements and reflected that “it’s important to have something that bonds us as we all have different roles and imperatives. First Hand is a part of a cultural fiber that can connect all of us and bonds us in doing more to help children…very powerful.”