40 Under 40

Dzenan Berberovic, CFRE

Avera Health
Sioux Falls, SD

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  • Since joining Avera, Dzenan has helped to spearhead several multi-million dollar campaigns. Each campaign has successfully exceeded its goal while engaging an increasing amount of benefactors at the major gift level.
  • He leads philanthropy for one of the largest organizations in South Dakota.
  • Dzenan is one of the youngest chief philanthropy officers in the nonprofit and healthcare sectors, having personally raised over $100 million and led teams to exceed individual and team goals.
  • Ahead of joining Avera, Dzenan held increasingly responsible roles at his alma mater, University of South Dakota, where he most recently served as executive director for principal giving as part of a comprehensive $250 million campaign.

Q & A

1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?

I was inspired to serve in healthcare because of the mission and culture of Avera. Our organization shares a deep passion for caring for those who are most vulnerable. From the very first day of joining Avera, I have felt at home because my personal values align with those of Avera. I remain passionate because of our people – our benefactors and colleagues. Together, we ignite the extraordinary for our patients, residents and their loved ones.

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

This is work that matters. It makes a profound difference around the clock. In healthcare, philanthropy can be felt and seen by those in our care and their loved ones. Our work enriches lives and our benefactors' impact can be seen instantly when you visit one of our locations across Avera’s footprint of 72,000 square miles.
3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

I was first introduced to the purpose and power of philanthropy as the grateful recipient of a stranger’s generosity. Decades ago, my mother and I escaped a war-torn country. I was raised in poverty; however, a benefactor’s gift changed my life. It allowed me to see firsthand what happens when we serve others. My life’s work was born. I have a commitment to helping people–especially society’s most vulnerable.

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

I credit my first job for instilling in me the ability to collaborate with people and build relationships quickly. In my first job, I served as a guest interactor at a local science center.

5. What are your future aspirations?

As I look ahead, I am passionate about growing the impact of philanthropy to advance our health ministry at Avera. I am blessed to serve alongside a passionate and engaged team. We recently unified our philanthropic efforts across the system into a single foundation. With such a dedicated team, many passionate benefactors, and a meaningful mission, the sky is the limit. There is momentum and excitement around philanthropy across our organization.
Find Dzenan on LinkedIn and Twitter
Dzenan-Berberovic Headshot-cropped

Fun Fact:

I call my mom every single day. Having been raised in a single parent household, my relationship with my mom is very important to me. This tradition began when I moved away to college and has continued since.