Longtime Ascension Wisconsin philanthropy leader to retire

Last updated on April 16th, 2021 at 03:11 pm

Lisa Froemming, who has led philanthropy efforts for Ascension Wisconsin and its predecessor Columbia St. Mary’s for more than 17 years, announced she will retire in April.

After serving as president and CEO of Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation for 14 years, Froemming has led Ascension Wisconsin’s foundation operations across the state as the health system’s vice president of philanthropy since 2018. She’s continued in her role with the CSM Foundation since then.

She’s credited with steering several significant fundraising campaigns for the Glendale-based health system.

Froemming led a $42 million campaign for Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Milwaukee’s new hospital in 2010 and the bed tower expansion at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee.

Other expansion projects supported by philanthropy in recent years have included the Polly and Bill Van Dyke Cancer Center, Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s – Women’s Medical Center renovations including the Doerr Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, post-partum unit and labor and delivery unit, and creation and funding of Wisconsin’s first all 3-D mammography service.

During her tenure, philanthropic support for community services more than doubled, Ascension Wisconsin said.

“Lisa has been a thoughtful and compassionate leader who has played an integral role in raising more than $80 million for the Ascension Wisconsin Foundations – directly impacting patient care and community services,” said Bernie Sherry, senior vice president of Ascension and ministry market executive of Ascension Wisconsin. “While her retirement is well-deserved, her leadership and presence will be sorely missed.”

Froemming will retire April 2. The Ascension Wisconsin Foundations in Milwaukee, Racine and the Fox Valley will continue under their current leadership following Froemming’s retirement.

“Having the honor of being the caretaker of this legacy is deeply gratifying,” Froemming said. “Together with the foundation board of directors and so many generous donors, we’ve furthered a sacred trust reaching back nearly 175 years to the founding by the Daughters of Charity of the first private hospital in Wisconsin. It’s been my privilege and pleasure to have played a part in helping secure our mission to provide the highest quality care and to serve people who are poor and vulnerable, now and for the future.”

Prior to Ascension and Columbia St. Mary’s, Froemming led external affairs and advancement for the Milwaukee Public Museum and was the director of development for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.