Up-and-Comer lands national recognition from Children’s Miracle Network

March 26, 2019

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Erin Sanderson, development manager at the Sanford Health Foundation and the primary program director for Children’s Miracle Network, or CMN, fundraising.

Sanderson recently was named the hospital/foundation person of the year at an international gathering of CMN, hospitals, partners and miracle families.

The award is based on fundraising success and overall commitment to patients and families, creative and strategic ideas, and innovation, she said.

Since Sanderson joined the organization less than five years ago, its fundraising has increased from $1.7 million to $2.26 million annually for CMN.

Sanford also was named the small market fundraising hospital of the year.

“We have a pretty incredible cause we represent … and the fact that we get to play any role in that makes me feel incredibly blessed,” Sanderson said. “It’s our community coming together. They care about our kids and you can tell that in every interaction. I get to talk to program directors from big markets – Dallas, Minneapolis – and every year people are just blown away by the success of the Sioux Falls market.”

Here’s more on this week’s Up-and-Comer.

Name: Erin Sanderson

Age: 31

Hometown: Mason City, Iowa

What brought you to Sioux Falls?

I was living in Mankato. I went to Minnesota State University in Mankato and wanted to get into nonprofits. I started at the Muscular Dystrophy Association of South Dakota in 2012 and that brought me to Sioux Falls to cover all of South Dakota, and that’s where I first dipped my toes into fundraising.

What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

I became aware quickly of our generous community and realized if I wanted to be in nonprofits this was the community to do it. I actually live in southwest Minnesota and commute to Sioux Falls every day for work because I refused to leave this community.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

Allowing people to find what they’re passionate about charitably and how we can find a platform they can support through one of the many things at Sanford Health Foundation. And the miracle families: 100 percent.

How did you get connected to your industry?

I went to school with a double major in communication studies and public relations, and my minor was a deeper communication studies and nonprofits specifically. I was raised in a family that gave back. I don’t think we have a personal health story, we just felt blessed we were healthy, and that encouraged me to give back wherever I can. And I always had a heart for helping others. I volunteered in college whenever I could, and my first job was at an auto dealership where I managed our campaigns for nonprofits like March of Dimes and United Way. I realized I wanted to be on the other end, working with people on causes they care about.

Describe Sanford Health Foundation in three words.

Transformational. Passion. Community.

What’s your favorite way to give back to your community?

Most things I do are through the platforms we represent at Sanford Health Foundation. I’ve been involved with Leadership Sioux Falls and have been able to dabble in other areas, but my favorite way to give back is making sure our kids and families with big battles are taken care of.

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

Nordstrom and Nordstom Rack — selfishly and because they’re a Children’s Miracle Network national partner!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

With the success we’ve had on my team even in the last year, we always talk about doubling our efforts. And if we can even double our efforts in the next five years, I would be completely blown away. That would mean our community stepped up in an even bigger way. And as the mom of a 3-year-old, I want to keep growing my family and my role at Sanford Health Foundation and keep giving back in any way I can.

Up-and-Comer lands national recognition from Children’s Miracle Network

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Erin Sanderson, development manager at the Sanford Health Foundation and the primary program director for Children’s Miracle Network fundraising.

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