Giving back to the communities where we live and work is part of who Securian Financial is as a company. Our employees, retirees and board members are at the heart of our culture of giving, and they are empowered to support causes they care about.
In September of 2022, The Securian Financial Foundation donated $1 Million to Children’s Minnesota Foundation health system’s first inpatient mental health unit. Securian Financial Foundation’s principal gift was the first corporate commitment to the mental health program at Children’s Minnesota.
Today we sit down with Ann McGarry, Second Vice President, Enterprise Marketing at Securian Financial, who serves on the Children’s Health Care Foundation board and was integral in making that gift possible.
We’re excited to share some of our conversation with Ann, as she brings to life some of the significant ways she, and Securian Financial, get involved in the community.
What is your role on the Children’s Minnesota Health Care Foundation board, and how were you involved with Securian Financial's recent gift?
Ultimately, my role is to represent the needs of both Children’s and Securian Financial. Through my involvement, I was given the opportunity to position Children’s as an important collaborator to Securian Financial. On the Children’s Health Care Foundation Board, we’re always talking about where we need to prioritize funding. Over the last few years, I began hearing similar ideas at both Children’s and at Securian Financial when it came to our respective commitment to mental health. Between Children’s Foundation, Securian Financial, and the St. Paul community, I saw an opportunity for a win-win-win.
As a board member for Children’s Health Care Foundation, I help to secure philanthropic resources to support the hospital’s mission and strategic plan. The board's philanthropic activities support exceptional clinical care, innovation, growth, and quality improvement, as well as clinical research, education, and an extraordinary patient and family experience.
What led you to get involved with Children’s Health Care Foundation?
In 2002, when she was just five months old, my daughter spent two weeks in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) at Children’s Minnesota. They discovered and corrected a heart condition that developed after she was born. Basically, they saved her life, and I am forever grateful! My gratitude resulted in a short-lived obsession with going back to nursing school and a long-lived commitment to give back to the amazing organization. After years of providing personal financial support, I joined the board of the Children’s Minnesota Health Care Foundation in February of 2020 to give back in a broader capacity.
What do you find appealing about what they do in our community?
Children’s Minnesota truly serves the most amazing people on earth! The vision of Children’s Minnesota is to be every family’s essential partner in raising healthier children. They advocate for all patients and families (with special outreach to underrepresented communities) by ensuring they receive best-in-class care. I believe many of our community’s challenges can be impacted by ensuring all children have a positive head start on life. I want to be a part of that wherever I can.
How has your role on the board changed over the years?
My role has deepened from an integration perspective. For example, I’m able to visualize how Securian Financial Foundation's gift is represented in the physical space. It enhances my perspective on the board when I’m able to see the actual 22-bed facility that comes to fruition from our collaboration.
What personal or professional skill sets are you using – or further developing – while serving on boards? Did you gain any unexpected skills?
I use my years of marketing experience on the Foundation’s Marketing Committee. We are blessed to have a wide range of health care options in the Twin Cities, but many do not realize that Children’s Minnesota is differentiated as one of the largest freestanding pediatric health systems in the United States. It’s also the only health system and Level I Trauma Center in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children from before birth through young adulthood.
I am a bit surprised to be honing new fundraising skills – I HATE asking anyone for money but I’m learning that its easier when you’re promoting something you truly believe in. The Board is filled with an impressive group of heavy hitters from all backgrounds. I’ve enjoyed networking with and learning from all of them (albeit virtually).
Aside from Children’s Health Care Foundation, are there other organizations you’re active with?
Yes, I am a Child Care Volunteer for the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery – basically, I play with babies several times a month. Notice the baby/children theme! MCN is another wonderful resource for families who are experiencing crises of all kinds.
What advice do you give to others who are interested in getting active with a nonprofit organization? What are important things to keep in mind?
Take the leap…get involved! It’s so rewarding to know that you are giving back and sharing skills that are in high need at many nonprofits. It’s so easy to get in a rut and feel that you’re too busy to take on more, but these kinds of commitments give so much more than they take.