A moment with: Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper serves as the Donor Relations Manager with Colorado-based Centura Health’s Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation, St. Mary-Corwin Health Foundation, St. Thomas More Health Foundation, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center Health Foundation and Mercy Health Foundation.

Jennifer joined Centura nearly two years ago having previously worked for two White House administrations and as a consultant and employee to both local and regional government agencies.

We asked her about her journey to philanthropy and how her past experience fits her current role.

Tell us a little about your background?
I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and, interestingly, delivered my children at Sequoia Hospital [a CommonSpirit Health hospital in Redwood City, Calif.]. My White House and consulting work was in program management and logistical support, but I’ve always been at least peripherally involved in philanthropic organizations at some capacity. After our move to Colorado, one of the things that was a transition for me was taking that passion that I had for being involved in a ‘movement’ and asking myself “If I could do it all over again what I would do differently now?”

The answer for me came in the form of this job.

Tell us about your role.
I’ve been able to take a lot of my work experience in diplomatic relations, engagement, working with dignitaries and things that I have done professionally and direct those toward this donor engagement role. I’m helping to make sure that as our major gift officers are out in the field securing gifts that we are also telling the story of those gifts and communicating why it is important for our donors to want to give. It’s a lot of storytelling, a lot of making sure gifts are used in the way the donor intended, and providing and communicating an opportunity for our donors to become involved. I see my role as making sure that donors are engaged and aware, that they continue to stay engaged and knowledgeable so that they feel like they can be our champions in the community.

What do you love most about your job?
I love knowing that we’re making a difference and that it’s a difference you can see almost instantaneously. You can do just about anything, but if you aren’t healthy it doesn’t make a difference, right? Knowing that we are providing health care to our community keeps me going. Knowing that the work I’m doing is having an impact and serving the community across all ages. Health care is universal. It serves everyone and everyone benefits from good health care.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Honestly, I would still be engaged in nonprofit work. I regret that it took me so long to get here and to fully appreciating the impact our work has.

Outside of the office, what does relaxation look like to you?
Being completely disconnected from work and technology and fully engaged with my family. [Relaxation is] having that touchstone with my family regardless of what’s gone on in the day or what’s going on in the world.

Finally, finish this sentence: Philanthropy is….
Philanthropy is the love of humankindness but also the spiritual fulfillment of knowing that you are making a positive impact and being a part of something bigger than yourself.