40 Under 40

Nicole Bjerke

CentraCare Health Foundation
St. Cloud, MN

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  1. From 2014-2016, Nicole successfully secured over $3.2 million to support the building of a new medical campus, significantly surpassing the initial fundraising goal of $2 million.
  2. Since August 2017, she has secured over $2.6 million from community members, businesses, foundations and grants in support of the CentraCare Health Regional Community Well-Being Center, which will provide a new model of health and well-being focusing on preventative health in a rural community.
  3. Nicole increased funds raised at the annual golf event in Long Prairie by 63% from 2013 to 2017.
  4. She successfully carried a funding request to the State of Minnesota Legislature in the 2018 Legislative session securing $700,000 through the State Bonding Bill toward the Regional Community Well-Being Center.

Q & A

  1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

    I have always had an interest in working in healthcare.  For most of my career I worked in business sales, but when I found the Development Officer opening with the CentraCare Health Foundation, the position description sparked my interest.  I explored the position further and after being offered the position, I accepted without hesitation. Six years later, it was the best career decision I have made!

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

    I chose health care philanthropy as my career because it embraces my passion for developing authentic relationships, my drive for delivering quality results and fulfills my desire to help others. My career in philanthropy has been simultaneously challenging and motivating.  Working for CentraCare Health Foundation allows me to focus my work in rural, mostly agricultural, communities of which I am particularly passionate about as I grew up in a small community in rural Minnesota.  I find excitement and appreciate that every day offers something different and that with every new opportunity presented to me, I can be creative and collaborative to identify solutions. 

  3. What has been the #1 factor in your career success so far?

    The most important factor to the success I’ve experienced to-date is teamwork. I find incredible value in collaboration and the CentraCare Health Foundation team has been extraordinarily supportive. I lean on so many amazing colleagues for assistance, advice and planning. One inspiring co-worker, Diane Marcotte, became my mentor and taught me to be creative, strategic and persistent. Additional recognition goes to the Executives at CentraCare Health who truly value philanthropy. My work is further strengthened by our local managers, medical providers, patient care teams, passionate community members and key organizational leaders who are willing to step in to make results happen.  I truly embrace teamwork and admire how committed individuals working together can make remarkable things happen.   

  4. What is your greatest passion and why?

    My greatest passion is building and fostering relationships. I value every interaction with donors and community members. It is important and critical for me to make every experience significant and meaningful for all donors; regardless of the potential financial contribution. It is exceptionally rewarding for me to meet with donors and to develop personal relationships. I believe my ability to connect with people has helped me achieve personal success, but more importantly, I believe that my passion for working together has helped me achieve professional success and will continue to contribute towards the results I’m pursuing for CentraCare Health; results many thought were not possible in our rural community.

  5. What are your future aspirations?
  6. My future aspirations are to continue to make an impact in our rural communities through philanthropy. During the past six years, I have witnessed the power of philanthropy and further realized that philanthropy is critical and necessary to help small, rural community hospitals fund projects and reach the level of excellence its patients expect and deserve. I feel privileged and honored to work for the CentraCare Health Foundation and respect the responsibility I have been challenged with in working in rural communities. I will continue to foster relationships and will strive to meet the needs of our rural community members to help expand services and positively impact health outcomes for those we serve. 

Nicole Bjerke

Fun Fact:

My favorite vacation destination is the Cayman Islands. I love spending time with my family relaxing on the beautiful beaches and snorkeling.