A moment with: Linda Russell

Photo of Linda Russell.

Linda Russell joined the St. Mary-Corwin Hospital Foundation in Pueblo, Colorado, in 2015 and since 2018 has served as Foundation Manager. This position marked a return to St. Mary-Corwin, where she spent over 13 years supporting the administration earlier in her career. 

Linda is a Pueblo native, born and raised in the community, and has been married to her high school sweetheart, Jerry, for more than 42 years. They are blessed with two sons (Justin and Jared) and a daughter-in-law (Nicole) all of whom live and work in the Denver area.

Philanthropy is …
Philanthropy is a love of humanity. For me, it is the desire and active effort required to help others, which makes it both exciting and challenging when you consider the impact we seek to achieve. The most rewarding aspect of philanthropy is allowing that moment of connection when the donor asks, “how can I help?” Those are the words that drive our mission and allow us to create a lasting impact in our communities. Generosity heals!
Can you tell us about your current role?
It is my responsibility to escort donors and prospects through the stages of the fundraising cycle – identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation and finally stewardship. The role encompasses the administrative duties for the office as well and includes the opportunity to interact with our local foundation board, composed of community members who are engaged champions for the foundation. 

Also, I love the opportunity to coordinate — with board committee members and community volunteer support — the signature events for the foundation. My absolute favorite is our annual signature event, Cowboys Kickin’ Cancer in partnership with St. Mary-Corwin Hospital and the Colorado State Fair. This unique event gathers our major sponsors and donors for an evening of gourmet cuisine, silent and live auction, paddle raiser for patients and the rodeo. As a highlight of the event, there is an opportunity to share an impactful patient story that encapsulates the care and compassion of our caregivers of the Dorcy Cancer Center at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital . 
How do you see your work fulfilling the larger mission of CommonSpirit Health?
My work relates to my personal mission to recognize the generosity and compassion of our community. It continues by extending the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in our communities. Philanthropy is the tool that allows us to fulfill our mission. Our efforts and success in developing long-lasting, meaningful relationships leads to continued funding support and greater impact.

What would you say to someone considering a job in philanthropy? 
I would say that it is one of the most rewarding careers that I have had in my many years of service. The people that you meet and the stories that are shared will not only impact the programs and services of the organization—their stories will have an impact on you and your life as well. Investing in people is what philanthropy is all about. Gratitude for others and the compassion and caring aspects are the benefits of being in philanthropy. I love the quote, “gratitude turns what we have into enough.” 

Is there a specific donor story that stands out to you?
I would like to share a story about one of our major donors, Mary Jane, who was the first to initiate the paddle raiser for patients at our annual signature event—Cowboys Kickin’ Cancer. The paddle raiser enabled all guests to participate at the level of support that was most comfortable and she would then match the funds given up to an identified amount. Mary Jane recently passed and we will forever remember her generosity and compassion for our cancer patients.

In addition to her matching gift at Cowboys Kickin’ Cancer, Mary Jane has given the largest gift ever received to St. Mary-Corwin Hospital. Her transformational bequest gift will benefit our cancer patients through programs and services at the Dorcy Cancer Center for many years to come. She had a vision for the center. Through her legacy gift, Mary Jane also supported the local Pueblo Community College Training and Learning Center on the St. Mary-Corwin Hospital campus. It was my honor and privilege to steward the relationship with Mary Jane for many years and I am forever grateful for the support and legacy she has left in our care which will change many lives. Cancer patients receive the support of our cancer center team all while benefiting from the generosity of this gift.
When do you feel best at work?
I feel best at work when I share with a new donor or prospect the incredible work of our caregivers in support of our community. It’s a sense of accomplishment for myself and our team, knowing that we have the privilege of sharing their stories and can showcase the great work being done daily through the Centura network specifically here at St. Mary-Corwin in Pueblo. 
What would others be surprised to learn about you?
Others might be surprised to learn that I am an avid fly fisherman! My dad taught me at an early age, and I have loved it ever since. My favorite getaway is San Isabel Lake!

Another fun fact is that I’m the owner of a 1930 Model A. It’s all original and most importantly was the first car owned (bought new) by my grandparents!
When you leave the office, what does relaxation look like for you?
Fly fishing at San Isabel. It is gorgeous up there right now with the trees and the fall colors. When leaving the office, though, relaxation is all about spending time with my family. Even as our sons and daughter-in-law are grown and thriving in their careers, sharing in their lives is most important. We value the time spent with each of them. I also love to travel. Several months back, we had the opportunity to visit our youngest son, Jared, at Oxford which included vacationing in Europe. We enjoyed the site-seeing in Scotland and the history around our ancestors. 

Anything else that you would like to share?
In summary, prayers to always have a servant’s heart and to live and serve for Christ!