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Avera foundations merging into one foundation

MARSHALL — The Avera Marshall Foundation will be part of a merging of all central and hospital foundations into one Avera Foundation, the company recently announced.

In a press release last week, Avera said the single team will consist of 22 people who work in different philanthropy roles and will be led by Dzenan Berberovic. Berberovic was named Avera’s Chief Philanthropy Officer in March.

The plan to combine all of the foundations began a couple of years ago, according to Abby Ahmann, who is the regional director of philanthropy of the Avera Marshall Foundation.

“I’ve been in this role for about three years now and we started talking early on with other cohorts about not recreating the wheel with each facility,” Ahmann said. “So we made a plan to create a common set of policies and procedures instead of each region being on its own.”

Ahmann added that financially, they’ll be able to save money in certain areas by not being able to duplicate similar duties performed through the different foundations. According to Avera, donors gave more than $28 million of philanthropic support last year. About 19,000 donors support various Avera programs each year whether it’s from donations or by taking part in fundraising events, with close to 6,000 of those benefactors being employees.

As COVID-19 continues to impact lives around the world, the Avera Foundation has been able to support the Avera employees, patients, residents and communities through the Avera Heroes Fund, which has received a total support of more than $1.1 million to date.

When it comes to Avera Marshall Foundation’s operations, Ahmann said the majority of their job will remain the same and donors will be able to continue to have a variety of choices of areas to donate to, with all of the money staying local.

“It pretty much all stays the same, except for the title of the foundation,” Ahmann said. “Any contributions made to either the Marshall or Tyler areas will only be used for those places. The money will stay local; fundraising might change system-wide with the campaigns but for the most part, it’s the same.”

Ahmann said the Avera Foundation will continue to hold special events, but due to the pandemic, have to wait going into the immediate future.

“Because of COVID-19, we’re just seeing how things play out,” Ahmann said. “Once things start to relax again, we’ll go back to our experience of having large events like in the past.”

As Avera makes the transition into this new chapter, Ahmann said the foundation is looking forward to being able to spend more time interacting with donors and seeing what they can accomplish as a single team.

“We’ve refocused our vision and our goals and we’re excited to have some common leadership on reaching those goals,” Ahmann said. “I’m also looking forward to having access to the back office support, which frees us up to be able to spend more time with our donors.”

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