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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.

Building stronger communities across the pond

Global giving



Published on 4/5/2022

Shanna Adamic, Executive Director of Cerner Charitable Foundation

In my near two-decade experience with Cerner’s foundation, I have seen that corporate philanthropy is the bridge between business and loving your community. In a 25,000-person organization, one thing I have learned is that no two communities are the same. Cerner spans across 6 continents, and 27 countries. We are absolutely a company with one vision in mind, but very diverse communities with different needs and opportunities.

Recently, I traveled to London and saw first-hand how our Cerner Charitable Foundation UK team is creating that bridge and building stronger communities. Including establishing relationships with local NGOs to further their impact, these Cerner associates are going the extra mile to deliver our mission across the pond.

After two years of COVID travel restrictions, it was incredible to meet the UK associates in person and see the work that they’ve been leading through Cerner Charitable Foundation. The week began with a visit to Cerner’s London offices, where a plaque reminds all associates and visitors of the foundation’s mission and 15-year history in the UK. It states, “Both entities operate as non-profit organisations, helping children with health-related needs where local and/or financial resources are insufficient or unavailable.”

Around the world, Cerner Charitable Foundation grants connect our teams with their communities and help drive the highest possible impact of our donations. Over the course of the week, I met with leaders from two UK NGOs that have received recent funding: Stephen Hawking School and North Paddington Foodbank.

The staff at the Stephen Hawking School serve 100 children aged 2-11, though the students’ developmental ages range from 1-4. 95 percent of their students are non-verbal, 80 percent are wheelchair dependent and 30 percent are hearing and vision impaired. However, 100 percent of these students are given a voice through committed teachers, moments of pure joy and the freedom of choice at the school. An annual foundation grant began in 2009 supported the hiring of a music therapist, bringing the students joy and fulfillment no matter if they can hear or simply feel the beat. It was incredibly moving.

During my visit, I also met the dedicated team at North Paddington Foodbank in London and learned how they are addressing food insecurity within the community. Through one-on-one conversations, the foodbank discovers each visitor’s location in the city, the grocer nearest to their home and other possible lifestyle factors that prohibit their access to fresh, nutritional food. Next, the foodbank offers a voucher to get their preferred groceries at a store near them. This provides the recipient with a dignified experience, as well as healthier food options with their expanded access to fresh produce.

In addition to this program, the foodbank also runs a "baby bank" to support mothers in need of basic products for their infants and toddlers. North Paddington Foodbank is a new community partner with the foundation’s UK branch, a partnership that began at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we’ve proudly provided grants as well as volunteer opportunities to support their efforts to end food insecurity and uplift families in the community.

During a whirlwind week of international travel, I was so inspired to meet with these partners and dive into the work our Cerner Charitable Foundation UK team is doing to build stronger communities in their own backyard. I’m excited to share that the UK team’s recent donation of £1,000 to Bloody Good Period will be matched by Cerner Charitable Foundation. After 15 years of giving and volunteering, I’m proud of the work this team has done to drive positive change. I thank each and every one of these team members, and I’m excited to know that this is just the beginning.

I invite you to visit our website to learn more about our community grants and help the Cerner team address the social determinants of health.