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Community Comes Out for Kent Bruun’s Retirement from RiverView Foundation

Foundation news | Thursday, March 12, 2020

A celebration was held on Wednesday for Kent Bruun as he retired as director of the RiverView Foundation. A large crowd of well-wishers turned out to thank Bruun for his 16 years of service.

“As the RiverView Foundation director, and through his relationship with the Foundation Board, Kent enabled donor dollars to support multiple projects to enhance and improve healthcare in our community,’’ shared Kurt Heldstab, former president of the Foundation Board. “I have witnessed his compassion for the wellbeing of people’s health and truly reflect where his heart is. I am a fortunate person who can call Kent a friend and wish him and his family the best for the future.’’

In Bruun’s tenure, the Foundation implemented many programs and projects, some of the larger ones include:

  • Golf Classic: In the event’s 15-year history, $375,000 has been raised through this fun, annual event. Over the years, equipment has been purchased, programs started and sustained, and expertise obtained thanks to these funds.
  • Friends for Life: This is a sustained employee-giving program designed to support RiverView projects with the intent of creating a healthier community. The Foundation has strong support from employees who believe in RiverView’s mission and donate a portion of their salaries to the Friends for Life program. In 2019, 88 percent of RiverView’s staff gave to the RiverView Foundation.
  • Estate Planning: Funded by the Dakota Medical Foundation, this program specializes in faith and value-based planning to help individuals and families understand and create comprehensive wealth transition plans. This service provides experts in IRS law and charitable options that help families establish estate plans.
  • Giving Hearts Day: In 2008, the Foundation was one of 38 pioneers participating in the first Giving Hearts Day event. Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour fundraiser for non-profits through the Dakota Medical Foundation. That first year, the Foundation raised over $17,000 in the daylong event. Fast forward to 2020 when Bruun and the Foundation brought in a record-breaking 500 donations for a total of $547,788 on Feb. 13th. As Bruun often said: “What a difference a day makes!’’ In the past 13 years of the Giving Hearts Day program, the Foundation has raised $1,919,567.
  • Capital Campaigns: In his early days with RiverView, Bruun helped wrap up the FutureView Campaign. That campaign brought in $1.3 million in contributions to help fund an additional 60,000 square foot space to the facility. The current campaign, RiverView 2020: Our Vision is Clear, kicked off on Giving Hearts Day 2019 and will wrap up on Giving Hearts Day 2021. The goal for the Foundation’s campaign is to raise $2 million or more to support the meditation room, Inpatient Unit patient rooms, labor and delivery rooms, and family suites. The project, with a total cost of $51 million, is scheduled for completion this fall.

Bruun was the fifth director to lead the Foundation, following Bill Doran, Steve Joul, Miles Bakken, and Marlene Almlie. Randy Schoenborn was recently named the new director.

In his retirement letter to donors and friends, Bruun stated: “I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for supporting RiverView’s mission of providing exceptional care. You have given me a gift of friendship and charitable support that has healed lives and strengthened our community. You have shared your personal experiences with me and trusted me with your life stories of why our Foundation is one of your preferred charities. You gave generously to all the critical needs that support our patients…I believe we are all charitable and fulfilled by our commitment to care for one another and give back by volunteering and giving what we can so others can benefit. I have witnessed the power of kindness and am in awe of how you have made a difference in my life. Still, more importantly, you have positively changed the future health and quality of life for our community.’’

Pictured above: Kurt Heldstab (left) and Kent Bruun