Published on April 26, 2022

Bob Sutton and Rachael Bob Sutton and Rachael Sherard volunteer at the Banquet volunteer at the Banquet

Group Purchasing Helps Non-Profit – and Many Other Businesses ­ Make Bigger Impacts

Multiplying the gifts of volunteer donations – that’s exactly what The Banquet in Sioux Falls was able to do through a unique partnership.

Collaborating with Avera PACE, a group purchasing organization (GPO) with the Avera Health system, The Banquet joined thousands of schools, health care systems and other businesses across the country.

The membership helped The Banquet save money, with a regular savings of more than 30% in food costs. That led the non-profit’s contributing partners to get more from their donations of money and time.

GPOs, like Avera PACE, use the power of groups buying products together to save money and reduce costs. The leverage of many buyers leads to savings.

Bob Sutton volunteers at the BanquetBob Sutton volunteers at The Banquet

“Groups who donate now can provide four meals instead of three with the same contribution,” said Tamera Jerke-Liesinger, Executive Director of The Banquet.

Jerke-Liesinger said sometimes people are surprised at how big the total food budget, $250,000 annually, of the organization she leads can be.

The Avera PACE program through its alliance with Premier, Inc., along with contributors to GPO efforts makes, help The Banquet’s many contributors’ money go further. That means more people in need get help. “Our savings with Avera PACE have changed things greatly,” she said.

One of the changes includes the fact that groups can volunteer to host a meal at The Banquet without a minimum donation.

A Long History of Helping

More than 70 years ago, the Presentation Sisters who sponsor Avera along with the Benedictine Sisters realized a strategy to aggregate purchasing at volume could save money. They realized, too, that some health care locations in more rural and remote locations were facing price disadvantages.

In the beginning, Avera PACE partnered with a limited number of health care institutions, government and nonprofits. Avera PACE now serves more than 2,300 entities of all shapes and sizes in 33 states. They added more than 300 new members in the last six months.

“We’ve seen historic growth, and we like the fact that we’re one of those lesser-known success stories within our larger health ministry,” said Kevin Jordanger, who serves as Avera PACE Director.

What Is Group Purchasing?

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Member groups include health care and education entities, but also businesses such as

  • Camps
  • Child care facilities, schools and colleges as well as universities
  • Fitness centers and recreation entities
  • Hotels and hospitality groups

“We pride ourselves on finding the intersections of need and opportunity, and the fact we’re a small team means we can stay nimble and responsive,” Jordanger said.

Enrollment in the program has no cost, and there’s no minimum involvement or elaborate contract. Members can lock in contracts for a variety of different items based on their business needs, such as:

  • Food and food-service supplies, as well as the goods to aid distribution
  • Medical materials and other articles to support health care
  • Paper, office and janitorial supplies
  • IT support materials, including hardware, software and equipment
  • Equipment for construction and finishing businesses, including furniture and more
  • Lowered-cost rates for employees on many fronts

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.