Transforming Lives Through Philanthropy
Dr. William and Merilyn Ballard
Photo courtesy of Billings Gazette Communications
Bill and Merilyn Ballard have made a lasting difference in the lives of countless patients and their families through their committed leadership and many acts of generosity to Billings Clinic. Members of our community since 1956, this couple epitomize the meaning of philanthropist through a lifetime of service and giving. Although Dr. Ballard is the more visible member of this amazing couple, tirelessly giving of his time, he will be the first to point out his wife Merilyn, and her unending support, as making it all possible. Bill states time and time again that Merilyn is the backbone of their family and his partner in everything he does.
Dr. Ballard is the CEO of Ballard Petroleum Co., an oil and gas exploration and production company operating in the northern Rocky Mountain region. After spending nine years on the Billings Clinic Board of Directors, Bill gained a keen insight into the unprecedented challenges facing health care today. The Ballards realize philanthropy is vital to helping health care organizations achieve the advanced levels of excellence every patient deserves.
In 2006, while Chair of the Billings Clinic Board of Directors, Bill was a champion for advancing cancer care in our region. His stalwart determination to uphold the vision of our cancer care team in bringing new technologies, research and advanced cancer care to our region led the way to the development of our nationally recognized comprehensive cancer program. The Ballards were among the first to step forward to support the building of our Cancer Center, providing the facilities necessary for world-class cancer care.
Recently, Bill took on a personal charge to raise money for a much-needed new Cardiac Center, including chairing the 2012 Classic. During Bill’s time as Classic chair, he and Merilyn pledged $500,000 to our new center to build a state-of-the-art rehabilitation suite for patients recovering from an open heart surgical procedure or heart attack.
Addressing the serious shortage of primary care physicians practicing in our vast region, the Ballards are now turning their energies and financial resources to Billings Clinic to support its fledgling Internal Medicine Residency Program. As the only program in the state of Montana, six or more new Internal Medicine physicians will graduate each year with the hope they will choose the “last best place” as their home.
Bill and Merilyn Ballard feel blessed to have been able to raise a family underneath the big skies of Montana and earn a good living from helping develop our energy resources. They feel strongly it is only right to give back to our community and state. The investments the Ballards have made in Billings Clinic will allow thousands of patients and their families facing serious illness the ability to raise their own healthy and happy families in this beautiful place we call home.