TCWF Founder Roger F. Greaves Is Honored
he California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) acknowledged Roger F. Greaves, founder and original board member of
TCWF, at a celebration commemorating the Foundation’s 10 years of grantmaking to improve the health and wellness of
Californians. Grantees, community leaders, executive directors of nonprofits, policymakers and elected officials joined the Foundation’s board of directors and staff at the Warner Center Hilton Hotel on March 19, 2002, to honor Greaves and celebrate the Foundation’s origins.
“Roger Greaves’ vision of wellness had a profound impact on the Foundation,” said Gary L. Yates, TCWF president and CEO. “His leadership challenged us to develop a grantmaking program focusing on health promotion and disease prevention in areas that were, at the time, considered quite revolutionary for a foundation.”
Greaves founded TCWF in 1992 when the nonprofit health maintenance organization (HMO) Health Net converted to a for-profit company, resulting in the establishment of the Foundation. Greaves joined Health Net as president in 1982, three years after the HMO’s inception. During his tenure, Health Net grew from 100,000 members to more than 1.2 million members. After Health Net became a for-profit company, it experienced subsequent mergers with QualMed and Foundation Health Corporation, and became one of the largest managed care entities in America and the second largest HMO in California.
Greaves also served on The California Wellness Foundation’s board during its formative years, when it initiated such grantmaking programs as Integrating Wellness Into Delivery Systems and Work-related Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
“We began with an initial endowment of $300 million, but a large mission, which was to improve the health of the people of California,” Greaves said. “Just like in business, I believed that with strategic planning, sound research and the willingness to fund in new areas, we could make a significant impact.” After the Health Net mergers, the Foundation’s endowment eventually grew to $1 billion.
During his tenure at Health Net, Greaves was the company’s spokesperson on the national stage, representing the organization and the industry to members of Congress and Wall Street. He is widely acknowledged as one of the original proponents of wellness and a national spokesperson for health promotion and disease prevention. While at Health Net, he employed hundreds of health educators and directed a program that gave away more than 50,000 infant car seats to encourage mothers-to-be to complete a prenatal training program. Many Californians remember Greaves for his appearances in Health Net television advertisements demonstrating the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle while he was inside a kayak against a pristine outdoor setting.
Prior to joining Health Net, Greaves held management positions at Blue Cross of Southern California and Allstate Insurance Company. A Los Angeles native and a U.S. Air Force veteran, Greaves graduated from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). He is a founding member of the Board of Governors of that university. With a grant from The California Wellness Foundation, CSULB created a permanent fund, the “Roger F. Greaves Scholarship.”
In 1995, Greaves retired as co-chairman, president and CEO of Health Net, then known as Health Systems International. He currently serves as a board member of Health Net and is on the Leadership Conference Advisory Board of Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals. His philanthropic work includes a private scholarship foundation that provides financial assistance to those who have been admitted to a four-year college or university. Greaves resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.