St. Paul -- On Thursday, April 25th, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) presented the Ruth Green Award to Sarah Stoesz, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS). Established in 1981, this national award is given to a Planned Parenthood affiliate chief executive chosen by her or his peers for outstanding leadership in business planning, political and public affairs, and fundraising. It is one of the highest honors given to Planned Parenthood CEOs for their work in carrying out the mission of Planned Parenthood.
The award was presented at PPFA's National Conference Gala held in metropolitan Washington, DC, and celebrated by over 1,000 Planned Parenthood leaders who work every day to improve the health and lives of women across the nation. Non-profit, political and women’s health leaders from around the country, including United States President Barack Obama, spoke at the annual event to celebrate the work of Planned Parenthood.
“Sarah Stoesz is a true leader, both locally and nationally, in ensuring that women and families have access to health care,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “In the face of deeply entrenched obstacles including disparities based on race and income, geographic isolation, and political opposition, she has stayed focused on making sure that women, men, and young people get the health care and education they need. She sets the standard as a high-quality health care provider and a tenacious advocate.”
"Tonight, the entire Planned Parenthood family celebrated a leader that we, in Minnesota, have long admired and cherished. Sarah is guided by the strongest of moral compasses, which means her first commitment is doing what is right and fair for the people and patients PPMNS serves.” said Stacey Mills, PPMNS Board Chair. "She has put her business and political savvy directly to work for women and families, which has gone a tremendous way towards ensuring that everyone in our region has access to the reproductive health care they need, no matter where they live.”
Sarah Stoesz, in close partnership with her staff and boards, and with the backing of more than 300,000 supporters, activists and volunteers, has led PPMNS for the last 12 years. “I am deeply honored to be recognized tonight by so many long-time colleagues and friends – and I thank you for it. But all of us in this room are Ruth Green. We are all in this movement together and it’s our collective success that makes this movement the powerful force it is today,” said Stoesz to a packed ballroom. “We all know that the stakes are high and the opposition is intense, but for all of us who care about economic justice, women’s health, human rights, protecting families, basic fairness – where else would we want to be putting our life’s work, besides Planned Parenthood?”
Innovative Health Care Delivery Systems
As a health care CEO, Ms. Stoesz has prioritized developing ground-breaking ways to make sure women of all incomes have access to the reproductive and contraceptive care they need. Understanding that improvements in the health care landscape should benefit everyone, regardless of income or health coverage, Ms. Stoesz is deeply dedicated to continually expanding access and improving quality of care for all PPMNS patients. To do so, Ms. Stoesz has infused innovation into every aspect of how Planned Parenthood delivers care to its nearly 70,000 annual patients in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. This has included collaborating with other non-profit health care providers, along with implementing the most advanced health information technologies, including a massive turnover to electronic health records, in order to improve the quality, efficiency and value of the health care Planned Parenthood provides.
On the Forefront of Non-Profit Fundraising
During Ms. Stoesz’s tenure, philanthropic giving to PPMNS has tripled and donor loyalty has remained steady through a challenging economy. Ms. Stoesz has raised millions for general operating funds, public-affairs campaigns, and education programs. Ms. Stoesz also facilitated a donor-led capitol campaign that raised 16 million dollars to fund PPMNS’ new flagship headquarters and health center in St. Paul. Opened in 2012, this state-of-the-art headquarters houses a combined 115 administrative staff and serves PPMNS patients with the full-range of reproductive health care in the heart of St. Paul’s Central Corridor.
Masterful Political and Public Affairs Programs
The combination of health care provider and health care advocate has made Planned Parenthood a cornerstone for women’s health in our country – and PPMNS is no different. In addition to her commitment to improving patient access and care through innovative business strategies, Ms. Stoesz is a seasoned political advocate who fights for laws and policies that protect and promote women’s health throughout our region. She has led PPMNS to several political victories including defeating ballot initiatives to ban abortion in South Dakota in both 2006 and 2008 and defeating a so-called “Religious Liberties” amendment in North Dakota in 2012 that would have wreaked havoc on the state’s constitution. In 2014, Ms. Stoesz will lead a state-wide campaign to defeat a “Personhood” constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by North Dakota legislators this year.
Excellence in Education and Outreach
Ms. Stoesz is also deeply committed to educating young people and adults about reproductive and sexual health in order to reduce the numbers of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) throughout the region. In addition to the 70,000 patients served each year by Planned Parenthood expert reproductive health clinicians, PPMNS’ Education and Outreach team educates more than 32,000 Minnesotans and North Dakotans through our culturally specific and comprehensive education programs each year.