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Our History

Alex and Rita Hillman were passionate about art. As at least one expert noted, the works they collected were "thoughtful, exuberant, strict, imaginative, generous" – much like the Hillmans themselves. Over several decades, this enthusiasm was ultimately linked to an equally ardent concern for nursing and how nurses could improve patient care and transform the health care system.

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Funding Policies

The Hillman Foundation makes grants through a strategic Request for Proposals process. Unsolicited proposals are not considered. That said, we are interested in learning more about worthwhile programs and projects related to our focus on health care and nursing innovation.

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Art and Science

A commitment to art paved the way for a commitment to nursing

Our interest in nursing began with the vision of our co-founder, Rita Hillman, who saw in a masterful painting an opportunity to change lives. In 1989, in the midst of a severe city- and country-wide nursing shortage, Rita sold Picasso’s “Mother and Child” at auction for 17 million dollars and dedicated the proceeds toward the education of nurses, with a special emphasis on bedside care.

In 2011, we expanded our mission: to improve the lives of patients and their families through nurse-led innovation. Building on our history, the Foundation today is spearheading programs to support the next generation of nursing leaders and funding nurse-led approaches to transforming the cost and delivery of care.

Foundation Staff

Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director

Rachael Watman, Vice President of Programs

Linda Le, Vice President of Operations


Board of Trustees

Adam Max, President & Treasurer
Managing Partner, The Jordan Company

Ahrin Mishan, Vice President & Secretary
Executive Director, The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation

Paul Garfinkle
C.P.A. BDO Seidman & Co. (retired)

David Gould
Former Senior Vice President for Program, United Hospital Fund

Lizanne Fontaine, Esq., RN
Counsel and Compliance Officer, Morris Heights Health Center

Kristin Choi, PhD, RN
Hillman Scholar Alumni
National Clinician, Scholars Program, UCLA

Jennifer Mieres, MD, FACC, FANC, FAHA
Senior VP, Office of Community & Public Health
Professor of Cardiology & Population Health, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

Henry Christensen III (emeritus)
Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP

William Griffin (emeritus)
President, The WMG Company