2018 Foundation Award Recipients

Art of Giving Award Recipients: Dr. James and Gail Fahner

Spectrum Health Foundation and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation are most honored to present the 2018 Art of Giving Award to Dr. Jim and Gail Fahner. 


In acknowledging Jim and Gail, it’s hard to know where to begin! We began a list of their individual accomplishments, but often found that what was attributed to Jim was really Gail, what we attributed to Gail was really Jim, but the majority of the accomplishments were both Jim and Gail. Just speak with one of them and you too will discover they are in this together. They are incessant givers of themselves for the betterment of others, generous and gracious, authentic, with philanthropic loving hearts. 

However, there are characteristics that differentiate their individual personalities and contributions. Gail is a member of the Butterworth Auxiliary, including officer positions, and she is currently a member of the Junior Golden Rule Guild. Gail also provided leadership for the Spectrum Health Foundation Gala planning committee for many years, and is an activist for Hospice of Michigan. For several years she served as the parent representative for sideline and competitive cheerleading, and volunteered in concessions at Forest Hills Northern. If you visited their home, you would see both she and Jim have the vision of designers and architects. 

In addition to his wife and family, Jim’s priority is his profession—physician and division chief of hematology/oncology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. This field requires courage, discipline, compassion, extraordinary skills and resiliency. He was instrumental in establishing a pediatric hospice program at a time when those services focused solely on adult patients. This is a program of Hospice of Michigan, and in 1995 was named the James B. Fahner Pediatric Hospice Program in honor of his incredible advocacy and tireless work on behalf of children who are nearing the end of their lives and their families. 

Regardless of the demands of his profession, Jim, like Gail, always finds ways to give back and be intricately involved in the community. They are a dynamic couple and their generosity is well-known.

 Jim is a strong proponent of philanthropy, and has partnered with the foundation since his arrival in 1989. Ever-ready to volunteer for any activity. Jim and Gail were the catalyst for creating the Wizard’s Ball, which benefits the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Make-A-Wish® Michigan. To date, more than 550 children and families from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital have had wishes granted. Jim and Gail embody the true spirit of philanthropists and generous love of kids, families and West Michigan. 

Congratulations, Jim and Gail. Your service, leadership and generosity have made your success a reason for us to celebrate.