Kathy Higgins, president and CEO of the Blue Cross NC Foundation since it launched in 2000, is retiring December 31.

Higgins oversaw the growth of the foundation and the strategic investment of more than $130 million into North Carolina communities to improve access to health care, promote healthy living, and support nonprofits.

Kathy Higgins. Blue Cross NC photo.

Higgins has served on many state and national boards and led fundraising campaigns to advance organizations and causes with a focus on children and women’s health issues. She is currentlly chair of the Carolina Hurricanes’ Kids ‘N Community Foundation and was founding board chair of NC Forever.

Governor Roy Cooper appointed Higgins to the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Practice Advisory Council.

In a statment, Higgins said,  “I believe truly fulfilling work involves serving others. I’m grateful my career gave me the chance to try to make North Carolina a better place to live for all of us, and allowed me to work with a team that shared that vision. Working together, we made a tremendous impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our state.”

Her accomplishments include:

  • Starting the Community Relations department in 1994 and the Blue Cross NC Foundation in 2000
  • Creating the nonprofit Be Active North Carolinaand the Be Active Kids program
  • Launching the Breast Cancer Button Chair and the Breast Health Project

  • The Million Step March–walking 650 miles in 72 daysto promote good health
  • Launching Nourishing North Carolina and the B-Cycle program
  • Serving on the executive committee of every Men’s and Women’s US OPEN held in North Carolina (1996-2014)

Higgins was an Eisenhower Fellow and Fullbright Senior Scholar and studied health care and philanthropy in New Zealand and Australia.

She said she plans to spend extra time with her family and anticipates travel after her retirement.

Danielle Breslin, vice president of the Foundation, will provide interim leadership until a new Pressident and CEO is named.