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Who We Are

Our Founders

Cerner associates are passionate, driven and dedicated to transforming health care. Through First Hand, our founders established a way for Cerner associates, clients and community members to make an even bigger impact in health care through philanthropy. They infused First Hand with an entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring donors to find the need and fill the gap.

Jeanne Lillig-Patterson

Founder (1958-2017)

Jeanne created the vision, pouring her heart into the foundation and advocating for those - especially children - with medical and health needs.

"It's all about knowing what's the right thing to do. There needs to be a soul to a corporation. Inside Cerner there's a soul. You can feel it: the chemistry, the altruism."

Neal Patterson

Founder (1949-2017)

Neal provided incredible foresight, predicting how health care would evolve and how First Hand could make a difference, specifically with Cerner's technology leading the way.

"We wanted to make sure we gave back to our community. We decided to do it ourselves and created our own foundation called First Hand."

Cliff Illig


Cliff brought his experience of building high-performing organizations and his commitment to the community, developing a new philanthropic model through First Hand.

"The objective has always been to do something meaningful; do something that makes a difference...for individual young people. Every one of them is special - every one of them has a great story."