December 17, 2021

Celebrating the Life’s Work of Our Founder, Cynthia F. Shurtleff

Cynthia F. Shurtleff, the “founding mother” of WithinReach, has spent much of her life working to improve the lives of children and families. WithinReach was born out of her hard work, and we are excited to take this opportunity to honor her and further her vision.

As a teacher, fundraiser, advocate and visionary, Cynthia has demonstrated a strong dedication to the health of women and children in Washington. In the mid-1980s, after attending a national Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) conference, along with others, Cynthia helped start a HMHB coalition in Washington.

Indefatigable and determined, she was just the person for the job. Through the network she built, Cynthia became a leader in the maternal child health space, was key in developing partnerships to start a call center and helping mothers-to-be learn about Medicaid and prenatal care. Cynthia was the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WCAAP) legislative liaison for many years as a volunteer, logging countless miles on I-5 to Olympia.

She played pivotal roles as the Chair of the Immunization Action Coalition of Washington, and as an active participant in the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington. As founder and board member of HMHB, now WithinReach, Cynthia helped our organization grow into a multifaceted direct service and advocacy leader serving more than 300,000 families each year. She consistently demonstrated stamina, wisdom and leadership, forging strong relationships with advocacy groups, pediatricians, lobbyists and hospitals with the goal of connecting families to the resources they need to be healthy.

“Cynthia has been a tireless advocate for the health of women, children and families in our state,” said Ginny English, former Executive Director at WithinReach and the first staff member of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies. “Cynthia saw the critical unmet health needs of moms and babies and has ignited a fire around innovative work that has improved the lives of countless families.”

Cynthia Circle Donors

Due to Cynthia’s extraordinary leadership, innovation and dedication to the health and wellbeing of women and children, she was the inspiration for WithinReach’s major giving program, the Cynthia Circle. These donors are a dedicated group of major supporters who believe in the mission and vision of WithinReach. They are committed to donating $1,000 or more each year, to ensure families in Washington State get access to the health and social service resources they need, when and how they need them.

Join us in our belief that all families deserve to be healthy. Your support at all levels allows WithinReach to innovate and advance our work in ways that accelerate the path to health equity. In collaboration with partners, healthcare providers and policymakers, along with your support, we continue to develop solutions for better health outcomes for children and families in our community.

Becoming a Cynthia Circle donor is an opportunity to build upon the extraordinary Cynthia F. Shurtleff legacy – ensuring for years to come that Washington families have the resources they need to be healthy and safe.