40 Under 40

Blake S. Bard, CFRE

Freeman Health System
Joplin, MO

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

1. Blake has helped create a more familiar culture of giving and generosity at Freeman by increasing employee giving by 5% and introducing the first official grateful patient program. Under his leadership at Freeman, the development team reached two major milestones in 2015 and 2016. He successfully led the $4.5 million building campaign for the Leffen Center for Autism, the first and only privately-funded building in the health system’s history in 2015, and followed that with the organization’s highest ever annual fundraising total in 2016.

2. He helped guide the local Walmart/Sam’s Club and Casey’s General Store annual Children's Miracle Network fundraising campaigns to first place in the nation out of 170 member hospitals and 140 U.S. markets in 2017 and 2018.

3. While at the University of Arkansas, he led the major capital building campaign to construct the $8.5 million Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center in 2012.

4. Blake is one of eight chief development officers from the U.S. and Canada serving on the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Advisory Committee, formulating fundraising and awareness opportunities for all 170 member hospitals.

Q & A

1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

Prior non-profit higher education role in student services that eventually led to major gift and advancement roles at a small public university and large research university.

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

I was naturally drawn to helping people and love being a catalyst for positive change and outcomes. It is also a career that involves every aspect of communication at all levels and offers a variety of different experiences.

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

My move to the University of Arkansas and working with a very skilled and talented advancement team. I’ve also been fortunate to follow and work for a couple of great mentors.

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

Dishwasher at the local café. It taught me to appreciate every experience as a lesson in your own personal journey.

5. What are your future aspirations?

I am excited to continue my leadership development in healthcare and I aspire to help create new programs and opportunities that could potentially have national impact. I am passionate about my career in philanthropy and hope to continue being a part of progressive healthcare institutions and growing my involvement in leading children’s healthcare initiatives.

Blake Bard

Fun Fact:

I’m a fraternal twin, played college basketball (Div. II Missouri Southern State University – Joplin), and loves to write poetry, songs and hopes to publish a book someday!