Kaufman back home helping Aurora build philanthropy office

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Back in Wisconsin after a dozen years on the East Coast, Nancy Kaufman is helping Aurora Health Care take another step in its process of building a fully integrated health care system.
Kaufman, who last year was named vice president of philanthropy for Aurora, is setting up an entirely new department for the Milwaukee-based health care system – a department that will coordinate existing philanthropic programs and which will seek to expand financial support for the nonprofit organization.
Kaufman, a registered nurse, was a vice president with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in New Jersey for 12 years, working on substance abuse and tobacco-related programs for the national health-oriented organization.
Prior to her work in New Jersey, Kaufman was deputy director of Wisconsin’s Bureau of Public Health.
She’s a 1967 graduate of Shorewood High School and graduated from the School of Nursing at UW-Madison. She obtained a master’s degree in administrative medicine from the University of Wisconsin Medical School.
With sites in 80 communities in eastern Wisconsin, Aurora has built an organization that is a lot more than a hospital system. With a goal of providing services that help maintain and restore health from cradle to grave, Aurora has added or acquired a variety of hospitals, clinics and pharmacies. With those additions has come disparate philanthropic efforts that Kaufman is now working to unify.
"One of my purposes is to be able to find ways to support a lot of the innovative was that Aurora is serving people," she said. "This is very much an unusual system in that it has enveloped all of the components of health care."
And, as a nonprofit organization, it’s doing all that "on very slim margins," Kaufman noted. The organization, like other hospital systems, provides millions of dollars worth of unreimbursed care each year.
"So all the things you want to do as a health-care system – you can’t do all of those things without people supporting your work," she says. And thus, philanthropy and her new role of building the department and matching interests of donors with services or programs, and of finding grant money.
Kaufman says hospital systems in Wisconsin lag those in other states in tapping into government resources; she hopes to seek some of those dollars.
It’s a crucial role for Aurora, she believes, saying "health care will be challenged as never before" as the economics of the industry continue to change.
Kaufman serves on boards for a number of national health care organizations and is an international speaker on a variety of health prevention topics. She has been a representative to the World Health Organization and the Business Council of the United Nations, and has served on advisory boards for the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the National Institutes of Health.
She was nominated for an American Red Cross Nurse Hero award for her relief work in New Jersey after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers. The community she lived in was home to many New York City workers.
Now a resident of Bayside, Kaufman is building a home in Mequon. She’s a quilter and has been a lifelong supporter of the arts.

Feb. 20, 2004 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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