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Foundation News

Little Onesies, Big Impact: Holiday of Caring at Avera Partners with University of Sioux Falls

Thank you to the University of Sioux Falls for opening their hearts to those in need throughout the month of December. Through a collaborative effort with Avera’s McKennan Foundation’s Holiday of Caring, the university took it upon themselves to put up their own tree filled with onesies and collect craft supplies and baby supplies for the Avera Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Thank you again to the University of Sioux Falls for bringing Christmas cheer to patients and families at Avera.   

Caring and Creativity: Behavioral Health Fundraiser Raises Over $60,000!

Thank you to everyone for supporting the 2016 HeARTS in Healing fundraiser benefiting Avera Behavioral Health Center. Over $60,000 was raised to serve patient and families in our community. Guests filled the Light Court on Saturday, February 6 to enjoy an evening of fine food, inspirational stories and an array of locally commissioned art and other silent auction items. Thank you to the artists, attendees, volunteers and sponsors for making gifts to support the health and well-being of our local community. 

Halloween Fundraiser Scares Up $12,000!

Thank you to everyone for supporting the health of children and their families in our community through your participation in the “Spirit of Children” Halloween fundraiser. The “Spirit of Children” is a national program that brings fun and funding to hospitals at Halloween and all year long by supporting the Child Life Program.

Thank you again for dressing up for a donation!

Growing and Giving!

Thank you to the SD Knights of Columbus for raising over $2,500 for their “No Shave November Project.” The hair-raising event was created to support men’s health at the Avera Cancer Institute.

Even though things may have smoothed out for the group, their dollars will continue making a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families.

(Pictured from left: Gerald Dvorak, Dan Johnson, Sarah Murphy (Foundation), Dan Dwire, Thad Liebig and Ray Pierson).

Gifts to Avera McKennan’s Holiday of Caring Fills both Trees and Hearts!

Thank you to all the departments, individual employees and loyal friends of Avera McKennan who made this year’s Holiday of Caring a magical success for many families in need. Because of friends like you, the Avera McKennan Foundation had 37 families sponsored by various individuals and hospital departments.

In addition, holiday meals were supplied and countless gifts were found under our Giving Trees to support the needs of the Walsh Family Village, Avera Cancer Institute Sioux Falls and Avera Children’s Hospital.  

Here’s a special note we received from one family who received assistance. “I was so touched by all the gifts. They just kept coming! They were a big help and all were perfect. Your kindness to us reaffirmed my belief in Christmas and that God does answer prayers.”

Avera McKennan Foundation Receives Gift from Sammons Financial Group

Thank you to Sammons Financial Group for their generous donation of $25,000 to support cancer patients and families at the Avera Cancer Institute.

Their generosity benefits various cancer programs and services such as integrative medicine, navigation services, survivorship programs, advanced technology and research. The group also sponsors the Avera Race Against Breast Cancer which also supports cancer programs and services. Thank you to the Sammons Financial Group for their generous contribution!

Feisty Fighters Group Donates to the Avera Cancer Institute

They are feisty!

Thank you to the Sioux Falls-based cancer-fighting organization known as Feisty Fighters for donating $10,000 to benefit genomic cancer research at the Avera Cancer Institute.

The Avera McKennan Foundation was present to accept the check from members of the organization. The group is made up of men and women from the area who host events, including a 60-mile walk, to raise money and support efforts towards a cure.

Thank you for your support!

Woster Recognized for Volunteer Efforts

Congratulations to Jim Woster for being awarded the Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award at the 2015 Governor’s Awards for Philanthropy.

Woster received the award for his time and dedication to numerous capital campaigns and events at Avera McKennan. He has and continues to serve on numerous steering committees, boards and has provided the Avera McKennan Foundation with many opportunities because of his efforts. Woster was co-nominated with the South Dakota State University Foundation. The SDSU Foundation also congratulates Woster on his recognition for the time and dedication to the university.

The annual banquet was hosted by the South Dakota Association of Fundraising Professionals where it honors key individuals throughout the state for their achievements in philanthropy.

Celebrate Awareness!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. The Avera McKennan Foundation is proud to have the support of many local community individuals, businesses and organizations who have raised money to benefit the breast cancer survivors and their families.

Thank You for Your Gifts!

  • Orion Foods
    Employees were challenged to dig deep into their pockets to wear denim! Through their special promotion, Orion Foods raised over $800! Thank you for wearing blue to benefit pink!

  • Vast Broadband
    Vast Broadband brings in the bucks for breast cancer awareness! Special thanks to their employees for raising $100 during "pink week."

  • Hearts with Hope Quilt Raffle - tickets on sale at Avera McKennan Hospital, Dutch Rose Quilt Shop and the Prairie Center Sioux Falls.

  • Think Pink O'Gorman Volleyball Tournament
    It was a night of pink power as the O'Gorman volleyball team played their hearts out for "Think Pink" night. Proceeds from t-shirt sales support breast cancer survivors and their families at the Avera Cancer Institute. Thank you for sporting pink for a purpose! 

Raking It In!

Compassion came in 3's at the Fall Compassion in Action Rummage Sale! Thank you to everyone for their support. Through your generosity, $3,333.33 was raised to benefit patients with blood disorders or those undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Thank you for supporting the patients and families at Avera Cancer Institute!

Strands of Support! We Care, Pink Hair Raises $3,000!

Thank you to all who supported breast cancer survivors and their families at the We Care, Pink Hair event on September 30. Employees, patients, volunteers and visitors made a general contribution to receive a pink hair extension to honor and raise awareness for breast cancer.

The event raised $3,000 to benefit various programs and services at the Avera Cancer Institute. Thank you everyone, including the stylists who donated their time, for showing they care with pink hair!  

Pizza with Purpose: Ians’ Thumbs Up Event Raises Dough!

Thank you to everyone who dined at Pizza Rev on September 29 to support Ian’s Thumbs Up: Let’s Raise Some Dough Fundraiser. Avera Children’s Hospital got a big slice of the proceeds, receiving nearly $500 to support children and families right here in our community. Special thank you to Pizza Rev for donating twenty percent of purchases that day to benefit Ian’s Thumbs Up FUN’d. Visit to learn more about Ian and ways to support his giving spirit.

Local Fraternity Shows They Care with Bears!

Members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity from the University of South Dakota delivered a load of teddy bears to the Avera Children’s Hospital, as part of their 20th Annual Teddy Bear Run. Fraternity members actually ran the bears in shifts 60 miles up Interstate 29. 

This year’s Teddy Bear Run raised over $6,200 to help Avera carry out the vision of caring for the body, mind and spirit of a child with every penny staying local to help children and families get the treatment and support needed.  

Thank YOU to everyone who contributed to the barrage of bears; because of you, the children at Avera Children’s Hospital had a fun distraction during their day.

Swinging into Action!

Thank you to all the loyal supporters, volunteers and participants for supporting local cancer patients and their families at the 2015 Compassion in Action Golf Benefit. The event, which was held on Sept. 17, raised over $17,000!

Compassion in Action was created to raise funds to support patients and families battling blood disorder cancers and/or awaiting a bone marrow transplant with financial assistance for additional expenses associated with their illness. For more information on upcoming Compassion in Action events, visit:

Ride Pink Revs Up Cancer Awareness

It was a day of pink power at the Ride Pink Poker Run on on August 30! The adrenaline-filled event raised $5,500 to benefit breast health services at the Avera Cancer Institute. Thank you to our event sponsors, attendees and volunteers for making a difference in the lives of local cancer patients and their families.

Toe-Tapping Tunes Trigger Support

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the hospice benefit concert held on Thursday, September 3. The evening was a huge success as guests enjoyed a variety of songs performed by Christine Albert and Chris Gage from Austin, Texas. The show also included special guest Kenny Putnam.

Over $10,000 was raised to benefit Swan Songs@Avera; a new program that fulfills end-of-life musical wishes by providing private concerts for patients receiving hospice care.

There’s still time to show your support! Make an online gift.

Avera Race Celebrates Heroes

Cancer may have found its kryptonite with the number of heroes who rallied to celebrate the 27th Annual Avera Race Against Breast Cancer on Saturday, May 9.

Thank you to all the super heroes who put on their capes to raise $400,000 in support of local cancer survivors and their families at the Avera Cancer Institute. Over 5,500 participants hit the streets, along with countless volunteers, sponsors and supporters to go up against the ultimate enemy; cancer.

Ever dollar raised benefits the local community. To learn more about what your gift supports, view runner times and photo gallery and watch a highlight video, visit

How Sweet It Was: Thank You for Supporting the Big Grape

The Big Grape 2014

Thanks to you, The Big Grape: Sweet Sixteen was a milestone event for all to remember! This year, the unique wine, beer and food tasting event raised over $135,000 to benefit patients and families at Avera Children's Hospital. Guests enjoyed a wide array of gourmet food, wine, craft beer and of course, cake!

Thank you to our loyal sponsors, volunteers, attendees and partners for attending our special celebration that benefits children in our community. To learn more about what your gift supports and view highlight video, visit