August 30, 2023

Honoring Kay Knox

Outgoing CEO, Kay Knox, presented with The Cynthia F. Shurtleff Leadership Award and Graduate Fellowship Fund in Her Name

WithinReach honors an individual each year who has shown extraordinary leadership, innovation and dedication to the health and wellbeing of children and families in our state with the Cynthia F. Shurtleff Leadership Award. Cynthia is known as the “mother” or founder of WithinReach, and we search for leaders who exemplify Cynthia’s wisdom, spirit and tenacity for this important work.

We are thrilled to present the 2023 Cynthia F. Shurtleff Leadership Award to former WithinReach CEO, Kay Knox. Sharon Silver, WithinReach Chief Strategy Officer and Interim CEO, honored Kay with the award at Kay’s farewell celebration this month, to pay tribute to her vision and initiative for improving the health and health equity of families in our state.

At the event, many past and present colleagues, friends and family offered their thoughts on Kay’s leadership. “I feel so blessed to have walked this path with Kay for 20-plus years,” said Silver. “The gift that Kay has given me of mentorship and modeling what a strong, powerful woman leader can be will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Hillary Shurtleff, daughter of Cynthia Shurtleff, said: “Kay, like my mother, has a legacy of advocacy, partnership, thoughtful leadership, friendship and action. I can’t think of anyone more worthy of the Cynthia F. Shurtleff Leadership Award.”

Kay fought hard over the years to create the infrastructure and work environment needed to assure the wellbeing of WithinReach staff so that they could better serve clients. She brought a deep level of confidence, respect and professionalism to the work that has positioned WithinReach as a public health leader.

“Kay has fought for families to have access to nutritional food, immunizations, healthcare and breastfeeding rights,” said Alison Hoffarth, Executive Assistant at Public Health – Seattle & King County and previous employee at WithinReach. “She has fought for so many things that should be basic rights for human beings. Kay has fought for families every step of the way.”

Kay’s passion for making authentic connections has changed the way WithinReach does its work. Kay believes in shared leadership, and her belief in and mentorship of others has helped many people rise to their full potential.

Patty Hayes, former Director of Public Health—Seattle & King County and former WithinReach CEO shared: “Kay’s passion for equitable outcomes has sharpened the agency’s focus and attention on diversity and inclusion, through the care and recognition of staff on the front lines, accessibility for clients, and a core sensitivity toward the societal biases that create the barriers they face. Kay’s leadership has made life better for millions of Washington families, and along the way, enriched all of our lives through her warmth, dedication, kindness and compassion.”

Honoring Kay’s Legacy – The Knox Fellowship Fund

Kay honed her passion for just and equitable outcomes during her time at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. It is with an eye toward the future that WithinReach has chosen to honor Kay by establishing a Fellowship at the Evans School in her name. The Kay Knox Fellowship Fund will support a new generation of passionate nonprofit leaders as they weave their desire for justice into strategies that address inequities through public service.

“I taught Kay Knox at the graduate level in two separate programs and, of course, she taught me, too,” said David Harrison, Senior Lecturer Emeritus at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. “Kay was always such a thorough, vibrant and intellectually compelling student. It’s no surprise for me that she hit it out of the park at WithinReach.”

We are thrilled to recognize Kay with the Cynthia F. Shurtleff Leadership Award and The Kay Knox Fellowship Fund. She has been a tireless advocate in realizing WithinReach’s vision. While her humble focus has always been on the importance of the work, we want to recognize the highly impactful, organizational leader that she is – WithinReach wouldn’t be where it is without Kay’s incredible leadership.

In honor of Kay’s legacy, we invite you to donate to help fund The Kay Knox Fellowship Fund and WithinReach’s ongoing operations through unrestricted administrative support.