Amy Hinkemeyer is executive director of the Sanford Health Foundation in Fargo, North Dakota, which just kicked off a multi-year campaign to expand the services, specialties and facilities of the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center.
Here, we’ll explore a little about her background and current role at Sanford Health.
Amy Hinkemeyer grew up in Cass Lake, Minnesota, and attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She majored in communications while volunteering with organizations such as Make-a-Wish and the YWCA. Her major interest became event planning.
Following college, Hinkemeyer’s first job was with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, where she concentrated on events — walks, bikes and so on. She says she was moved by the feeling that she was working toward something greater and making a difference in people’s lives.
Joining Sanford Health
Hinkemeyer came to Sanford Health in 2011, working on annual giving for the Foundation and growing into different roles while completing her MBA at the University of Mary. She went on to work on major gift campaign strategies and aligning giving on an enterprise level.
Hinkemeyer was originally attracted to Sanford Health because it is “able to do things in a big way and make a big impact.” She believes Sanford Health can do things globally while continuing to affect local communities.
Current roles and responsibilities
Hinkemeyer started her role as executive director in June 2018 and oversees a “small but mighty” team of seven people in Fargo. They are always doing something — from working with large donors to Children’s Miracle Network events and much more. The Foundation also works with nearby communities, including Mayville, ND, Hillsboro, ND, and Thief River Falls, MN, to support their local fund-raising efforts.
One of the most important things she wants people to know is that 100 percent of their donations goes toward the cause; the health system covers operating expenses and other overhead. When $10 is given to the cancer center, all of that money goes toward the intended recipient and stays local.
Hinkemeyer finds much joy in her work. She cites three things in particular. First, Hinkemeyer enjoys empowering her team to be successful. Second, she appreciates the opportunity to have conversations with donors about what they want their legacy to be. “That’s really something special to be able to have a conversation with a donor about how to make their passion become a reality and being able to demonstrate that to them. It’s very meaningful work,” she says. Third, the Foundation has the opportunity to meet with patients and families who are recipients of services, equipment and programs that are purchased through Foundation dollars.
Roger Maris Cancer Center growth
The Roger Maris Cancer Center was built through philanthropic dollars. During the past three decades, the Foundation has been instrumental in bringing a number of programs to the cancer center. The vision and hope is to make it a national cancer center, again with help from donors who contribute to the new campaign’s areas of focus: research, education, services, innovation, facilities and housing.
Hinkemeyer hopes to make the Foundation more visible to employees and let them know about the work the Foundation is doing every day. “We do a lot of things quietly, and my goal is that we’re able to tell this story and show the impact that we are making to create this culture of philanthropy internally,” she says.
Many employees give back, and the Foundation is grateful for that. Hinkemeyer hopes to share the difference that their donations are making.
While planning major events to support fundraising campaigns can be time-consuming, Hinkemeyer maintains a fulfilling personal life, particularly in raising her 3-year-old, Aubrey, and 9-month-old, Jonah, children and caring for the family’s beagle, Lena.
They enjoy traveling, and Hinkemeyer says she “enjoys seeing life through their eyes.”
She and her family live just outside of Fargo in the Kindred area. She and her husband both grew up in small towns, and they enjoy that environment for raising their own children.
“They drive me to do what I do,” Hinkemeyer says.