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Foundation News

Celebrate Awareness!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which marks a time to honor and remember those facing breast cancer through fundraising events, promotions and celebrations. The Avera McKennan Foundation is proud to have the support of many local community individuals, businesses and organizations who are gearing up for another successful month. So mark your calendars!

Mark Your Calendars!

Celebrating Success!

Think Pink Month is over half over and the foundation has a lot to celebrate! Here's a highlight of the past events!

O'Gorman Athletes "Think Pink!"

Find a Penney... Kick It Up! 9Round Kick-a-Thon!

Swinging into Action!

And it's a hole in one! Compassion in Action 5th Annual Best Shot Golf Tournament raised $16,000 to benefit cancer patients and their families at the Avera Cancer Institute Sioux Falls. Through various events, Compassion in Action has raised over $185,000 since 2010! Thank you to the event sponsors, participants and volunteers for another successful year.

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:

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 22nd 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 $3,800 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.

Ride Pink Revs Up Cancer Awareness

It was a day of pink power at the Ride Pink Poker Run on on August 28! The adrenaline-filled event raised $6,500 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 2nd Annual Swan Songs Serenade on Saturday, July 29. 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.

Dollars raised benefit Swan Songs@Avera; a new program that fulfills end-of-life musical wishes by providing private concerts for patients receiving hospice care.

We are the Champions:
28th Annual Avera Race Rocks the Community!

Cancer was no rival for the thousands of attendees, sponsors, volunteers and community supporters who came out champions at this year's Aver Race Against Breast Cancer on Saturday, May 7. Thank you to all who crossed the finish line for the fight. Whether running, walking cheering or making a donation, your gift ensures all cancer survivors and their families receive the best possible care at Avera Cancer Institute.

This year, nearly 5,200 participants filled the parking lot and streets, raising over $425,000 to benefit the local community. Visit to learn more about what your gift supports, view event photos, watch highlight video and more!

An Event Over the Top: The Big Grape Featuring The Big Hop a Big Hit!

The Big Grape 2014

Thanks to you, The Big Grape Featuring the Big Hop Craft Beer Exhibit was a triumph with its array of fine wines, gourmet food and expanded craft beer sampling. This year, the one-of-a-kind wine, beer and food-tasting event raised over $235,000 to benefit patients and families at Avera Children's Hospital.

Thank you to our loyal sponsors, volunteers, attendees and partners for ensuring that children in our community have access to a variety of vital services and programs. To learn more about what your gift supports, visit

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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Every gift to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center furthers our mission to provide the best quality care to patients and their families while remaining dedicated to serving our local community by providing care to all, regardless of ability to pay. You can be part of our healing ministry through your gift.

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