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This piece is presented by Avera.
Sioux Falls firefighters saw a need in the community but needed help to address it.
“Firefighters would often be in the community and come across homeless people or citizens that needed just a few basic necessities,” said Micki Lundin, Avera director of community partnerships. “The firefighters wanted to give them something to show they cared and came up with the Comfort Pack program, where they would give small string bags filled with nonperishables, toiletries, socks and other essentials. They shared the idea, and we stepped in to help provide both financial and volunteer help to buy the materials and pack the bags.”
That act of caring and many more helped Avera become the 2017 recipient of the Governor’s Award as South Dakota’s Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation.
The honor was among the South Dakota’s Governor’s Awards presented at the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon on Oct. 17 in Mitchell. It’s the first time Avera was named for the honor, which spotlights a corporation’s philanthropic support to innovations in problem-solving, its gifts and achievements statewide, as well as evidence of its leadership role in community involvement.
“We are so grateful for this opportunity and the recognition of the Avera mission in action,” said Sister Mary Thomas, senior vice president for mission at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. “We’re proud that our employees understand how their job supports the Avera mission, regardless of the role they play in our health system. Mission is faith in action.”
Avera also provided significant support to both Presentation College in Aberdeen and Mount Marty College in Yankton through the sponsorship of simulation labs used in the training of future health professionals. The health system just announced a $1 million donation to the effort at Mount Marty College. The equipment and educational framework these resources provide help both the institutions and future health care workers and the communities they eventually will serve.
Lundin also pointed to the Avera partnership with NAMI South Dakota.
“We supported the training of people who facilitate meetings for individuals and families impacted by mental illness, in many cases providing key resources at a local level,” she said. “We have seen the benefits come forward when you can connect expertise with families and others who need convenient, local support.”
The award Avera received is presented to a corporation operating in South Dakota that has a significant record of exceptional generosity in its community or statewide through direct financial support of South Dakota nonprofit organizations.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals South Dakota Chapter sponsors the awards.
Sioux Falls firefighters saw a need in the community but needed help to address it. Avera — as it has many times — came on board to help.