Development director immigrated, experienced impact of philanthropy

Oct. 9, 2018

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Dzenan Berberovic, executive director of development at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. He recently was named the Outstanding Young Professional during the International Fundraising Conference by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Name: Dzenan Berberovic

Age: 29

Hometown: Sioux Falls

What brought you to Sioux Falls?

My mother and I moved to Sioux Falls, with the help of an agency, from Germany when I was 9 years old. We were fleeing the violence in Bosnia, where I was born.

What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

Sioux Falls is a friendly community. I enjoy going places and seeing folks I’ve met throughout the years and also meeting new friends. Additionally, as the child of a single parent, I am very close with my mother, who also lives in Sioux Falls. For those reasons and more, my wife, Kelsey, and I have planted our roots here.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

Avera’s mission is inspiring. It’s easy to become passionate about our organization because of the example our founders, the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, have demonstrated throughout Avera’s history. At Avera, we are living our mission each day. It is humbling to be part of it. Our mission is not just a promise, but a promise we deliver on each day.

How did you get connected to your industry?

Since my teenage years, I aspired to work in the nonprofit sector. I have been the grateful recipient of a stranger’s generosity on several occasions, including when my mother and I were given the opportunity to move to Sioux Falls. Throughout my life, I have seen the impact of philanthropy – and I have benefited from the selflessness of others. Several experiences led me to my life’s work: The generosity of organizations like the one that helped my family come here, to the scholarship I received to the University of South Dakota, to the present – where I see the role philanthropy plays in caring for patients and families at Avera. Finally, I have seen the joy benefactors feel when they support a cause, meet a grateful recipient or see a project become a reality.

Describe Avera in three words.

We change lives.

What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

I enjoy quick-serve, casual restaurants. I hope a franchise of the Halal Guys comes to Sioux Falls in the future. The Halal Guys features Mediterranean food that began as a street-food cart in New York City. It is now one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Working in health care has taught me what is important in life. There is a great deal of excitement at Avera, especially around philanthropy. I aspire to continue working with generous benefactors and colleagues to advance Avera’s mission. Around the clock, amazing things happen at hospitals. These moments are often made possible because of generous individuals.

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Development director immigrated, experienced impact of philanthropy

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Dzenan Berberovic, executive director of development at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

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