40 Under 40

Lauren Denton

The Mast Cell Disease Society, Inc
Sterling, MA

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  • Lauren spearheaded the development and implementation of a 5-year strategic plan adopted by the Altru Health System Foundation Board that is centered around donors and alignment of Altru’s philanthropic services. The Foundation saw an overall increase of 15% in revenue and 37% increase in average gift size.
  • Prior to her current role within Altru Health System, Lauren served as executive director of the Foundation at Kittitas Valley Healthcare in Central Washington where she transformed philanthropy within 12 months for the rural healthcare system. She successful increased annual giving revenue by 10% increase in annual giving revenue and overall 178% increase in revenue through implementation of grants program. 
  • As a development professional, Lauren has raised over $15.6M to enhance local-level and regional rural health initiatives in 4 states spanning across the continuum of care from birth to end of life that has not only advanced health opportunities but has touched upon technology, economic development, and education sectors.

Q & A

1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?

Healthcare is a journey for us all, we all want good health and we all deserve great healthcare that is focused on patients first, and easily navigated. Growing up with a family member who had an incurable disease, I learned the importance of quality and integrated healthcare, along with the role of caregivers. This personal experience continues to ground my work in healthcare philanthropy and values of pursuing passion, believing in change, and gratitude.

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

My passion for health equity led me to pursue a career in healthcare philanthropy to improve and transform overall health of individuals and communities. I am fascinated in human behavior and what motivates individuals to give and make an impact for a better world. I find it incredibly fulfilling to foster partnerships, sharing our voice for patients, and working to improve health outcomes and the cost of care.

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

A pivotal step in my career journey was being able to witness the intersection of the power of philanthropy and process of improvement of patient centered care. Seeing the impact of one patient’s experience can make on how we approach research, provide care, or support the whole family, provides a vision and hope for a future of a more equitable and resilient healthcare delivery.

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

My first job in high school was working with the City as 1 of 10 student representatives from our local high schools to build youth development, engagement, and leadership. We planned social events, health summits, provided community-oriented education and were an intricate part in city governance. Early on this taught me the importance of understanding differences and perspectives, collaboration, and stakeholder relationship building. Engaging youth and next generations in community action and philanthropy will continue to be the driving force of making a difference in our world!

5. What are your future aspirations?

As I move forward, I hope to continue to be challenged, to learn, and mentor others to grow in their careers.
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Fun Fact:

I hold a graduate degree from Colorado State University in physical anthropology focused on dental development and systemic health patterns. I designed the department’s logo and was part of Neanderthal archaeological digs in Kazakhstan.