Peoria, Ill.,
13:39 PM

OSF Foundation Celebrates 2023 Pearl Award Recipients

The OSF HealthCare Foundation recently announced the 2023 Pearl Award recipients at its annual Culture of Philanthropy Celebration. The Pearl Award recognizes contributions to philanthropic excellence, compassionate care, and visionary leadership that will transform health care.

The Pearl Award was established in recognition of Dr. Richard Pearl, former director of pediatric trauma and surgeon in-chief at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois and the former director of surgical simulation at Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center, in recognition of his profound demonstration of the Culture of Philanthropy and his relationships and involvement with the OSF Foundation. 

The Pearl Award recipient is presented with a one-of-a-kind, custom made, hand-blown, glass lotus flower from J. Draper Glass studio in Peoria, Ill. Nestled within the lotus flower rests a stunning pearl. Pearls are known for their beauty, serenity, integrity and loyalty, all traits that the award recipient exemplifies. The lotus flower is unique and ever evolving with its petals always reaching up to the light that brings sustaining life. Each year the colors vary with a touch of Franciscan brown intertwined, similar to how philanthropy is embodied within the Mission of OSF HealthCare and The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

This year, three individuals were recognized with the Pearl Award, one from each region served by OSF HealthCare.

Pearl Award - Kelly Jefferson

Eastern: Kelly Jefferson, MSN - President, OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group, Escanaba, MI.

Kelly began her career with OSF HealthCare in 1998, progressing from a registered nurse at the bedside to president. She has worked in several areas across the OSF HealthCare System including as a Registered Nurse in general pediatrics and the neonatal intensive care unit. Her experience working in clinical care and performance improvement helped her develop an in-depth understanding of many aspects of the health care delivery system. Kelly was named to her current role in January 2022. 

According to her nominator, as president Kelly has been a leader in philanthropy. She makes a special point to share insights with community members, and generously gives of her time and talents to assist with cultivation and stewardship efforts. Kelly’s commitment and care for her patients and Mission Partners (employees), and her encouragement of fundraising initiatives elevates her as a champion of philanthropy.

Brea Cinnamon

Western: Breanne Cinnamon, PT-DPT, MBA, MPH – Supervisor, Rehabilitation Services, OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center, Kewanee, Ill.

In addition to her position as rehab services supervisor, Brea was a co-leader for a local Parkinson's Disease Support Group. She and her husband cofounded a nonprofit organization, Fueling a Future, that aims to ease the burden of transportation costs for children requiring medical care. Their vision became clear shortly after their daughter Lauren was born and upon learning that she had a very rare diagnosis, requiring follow-ups with multiple specialists and eventually, two open heart surgeries and a brain surgery, all before she turned 3. Their vision was born and the idea to guarantee that other families in their local communities had the same opportunities to provide the best care for their child(ren) without the financial constraints on their mind was accomplished. Since January of 2020, Fueling a Future has provided nearly $20,000 in gas cards to families in areas surrounding Henry, Bureau, and Stark Counties. 

According to her nominator, Brea’s dedication to enhancing access of care doesn’t end on a personal level, but with a professional tie by educating and connecting local patients to the Transportation Project, which allows access to transportation for those living in rural communities.

Michelle Carrothers

Central: Michelle Carrothers, CPA, MBA, FHFMA - Vice President of Strategic Reimbursement, OSF HealthCare Ministry Services, Peoria, Ill.

Michelle has been with OSF HealthCare for 40 years and has held many key leadership roles. She has been Vice President, Strategic Reimbursement in the Finance department since 2014. Previously she has served as a member of the OSF Ministry Joint Finance Committee, the Ministry Compliance Committee, OSF Investment Committee and Chair of the Ministry Charity and Community Benefits Committee and was President of the St. Francis Community Clinic Board. She currently serves as a Business Leader for the Ministry Community Health Needs Assessment initiative and has helped lead the OSF Campaign since 2012. 

Michelle and her husband, Ron, were named the 2023 McCord Philanthropists of the Year for Heart of Illinois United Way. They have been leadership donors and active volunteers for Heart of Illinois United Way for more than 20 years. Michelle has been an active supporter of a variety of initiatives for the OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Richard L. Owens Hospice Home, Jump Simulation, the College of Nursing and supporting the areas of greatest need at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, OSF St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg, and OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac.

Learn more about the Pearl Award and honorees at