2019 40 Under 40 Winners

2019 40 Under 40 Logo

Jill Kurszewski

Aspirus Riverview Foundation
Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

1. At Aspirus Health Foundation, Jill has led the charge to open a new behavioral health clinic and to form partnerships with funding agencies and community organizations to help a community struggling with high rates of behavioral health care needs.

2. At Marshfield Clinic Health System, Jill led the foundation's efforts to restructure the way it raises funds for the research programs. This work led to a $300,000 gift for cancer research as well as a stronger position for philanthropy in the research institute's strategic plan.

3. She grew Marshfield's annual giving program to include a successful systemwide employee giving campaign, a volunteer fundraising program that generates well over $1 million each year and 10 special events.

4. Jill serves as the board president of her local Boys & Girls Club. Her leadership afforded the club the expertise it needed in completing a $27.5 million capital campaign with the YMCA to build a joint facility.

Q & A

1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

I was working as an event planner at a golf course. I had the opportunity to work with a development professional on a golf outing for cancer research at our local health system. After our first meeting to plan the event I was hooked. I already enjoyed planning events and working with people. I had no idea there was a profession where you could do that work to benefit others. It took my career to a whole new level, adding meaning to the work I was doing. 

2. Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?

I am passionate about helping others. Working in health care philanthropy gives me that opportunity to help people who are celebrating their health after something like cancer or a traumatic injury or those who are honoring a loved one who passed away because of illness. I love working in health care because it is a place where you truly see and can be a part of the healing power of philanthropy. 

3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

Meeting Teri Wilczek was truly a pivotal point in my career journey. She was the development professional I met when I was working at a golf course. After I met her, I knew I wanted her job. An opportunity to work with her opened up a year later and she has been an incredible mentor for me since then. She invested in me and taught me how to continually invest in myself. 

4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?

My very first job was babysitting. I learned quickly that you need to be prepared. Anticipating what the kids need, such as taking a nap so they are not crabby by the end of the day, or planning activities ahead to keep them busy and out of trouble really helped determine how successful the job would be. 

5. What are your future aspirations?

I would like to teach. I have had the privilege of working with several different organizations and professionals on projects driven by philanthropy. The work of philanthropy can be an enjoyable and impactful experience. People without the right teaching or directions miss that, and become scared and timid in the work. Seeing individuals flourish in the work of philanthropy to advance their organization is so rewarding.
Jill Kurszewski

Fun Fact:

I am a proud military brat. My father served in the US Air Force so we moved about every three years when I was a kid. I have lived in six states and two countries.