After an extensive candidate search, the Great Plains Health Care Foundation Board of Trustees has appointed Kathy Bourque as the new executive director.

Bourque will begin in her new role July 16, GPH spokeswoman Fiona Libsack said.

Bourque follows Libby Lashley, who stepped down after a long tenure as the foundation’s executive director. Lashley will become a business owner in North Platte.

“We are excited to have someone of Kathy’s caliber carry on the work of the foundation and grow it throughout the region we serve,” Great Plains Health Care Foundation Chairman Leland Poppe said.

The mission of the Great Plains Health Care Foundation is to inspire philanthropy that will enhance the quality and availability of healthcare services for the patients and communities served by Great Plains Health.

The success of the foundation has been stellar.

In 2017, donors made direct contributions to patient care totaling more than $550,000 among 23 specific projects. In addition, donors contributed $8.5 million toward the expansion of the Great Plains Health emergency department, a project that is now under construction.

“Since the Foundation’s formation in 1992, donors have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and dollars advancing the health of our community,” said Mel McNea, Great Plains Health chief executive officer. “Kathy’s leadership skills and passion for serving the patients of our region will be an excellent fit as the Foundation Board continues its mission.”

Prior to accepting the position of foundation executive director, Bourque served as Great Plains Health’s senior director of patient experience. She has served on the boards of both Great Plains Health and Great Plains Health Care Foundation.

Bourque holds a bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in management and leadership from Western Governors University.

“The foundation is where my passion lies because it is about making the patient experience better,” said Bourque. “My husband and I have been supporters of the foundation for more than 10 years. We realize the difference that GPHealth makes in our region every single day.”