State Farm Insurance Agency employees, from left, Kaitlyn Miller, Jennifer Smetana, Jason Ahrendt, Tyler Johnson and Adam Maas pose with their team gift to the Sanford Health Foundation.

Business owner and employees proud to give back

January 25, 2019

Jason Ahrendt and his wife, Heather, know personally the good work happening at Sanford Health.

Heather is a physical therapist who has worked at Sanford since 1999. Jason’s State Farm Insurance Agency has been a longtime supporter of Sanford Children’s Miracle Network, and the couple generously supported Sanford Children’s Hospital during its construction in 2006, in honor of their own children.

“We felt so blessed that we had two healthy kids, and we know that’s not the case every time,” Jason said.

Their most recent gift was to Ava’s House by Sanford in 2017. When they learned about the new multi-generational hospice facility — one of only four in the nation to offer in-patient care for children and young adults — they knew they wanted to be a part of that, too.

It was the perfect place to honor their 10-year-old nephew Landon Ahrendt, who passed away from cancer in 2014. The Sioux Falls couple graciously sponsored the meditative walking path, Landon’s Lane, around Ava’s House.

“The biggest impact that Landon has had on our lives is that we are all committed to ‘doing something,’” Jason said. “Our family is committed to helping others that are going through what we went through.”

That spirit of giving back extends beyond the Ahrendts’ home to Jason’s workplace — where he recently challenged his State Farm Insurance Agency employees to follow his lead.

“It’s important for my employees to give back simply because we have the culture in our business of taking care of others,” Jason said.

Watch Jason explain why giving back is so important:


Doing more

To make giving back fun, easy and impactful for his employees, Jason worked with the Sanford Health Foundation to introduce a workplace giving program.

The partnership helped connect employees to different priorities at Sanford Health that count on donor support. The team even spent some time at the Sanford House in Sioux Falls, exploring displays and exhibits that highlight the impact of philanthropy.

While there, they heard from local mom Gretchen Gammeter, whose daughter was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at just 2 years old. Gammeter shared her personal story and explained the importance of Sanford Children’s Miracle Network to her family.

Following the visit, employees had the opportunity to support the Sanford initiative of their choice, whether Sanford Children’s Miracle Network, Ava’s House or another area of health care. With a surprise dollar-for-dollar match from Jason, the team raised an incredible $3,200.

“I’ve never had a group of such compassionate people work with me, but over the last eight years, I have learned what type of people they are,” Jason said. “I’m so blessed to get to spend my days with them.”


Create a culture of caring

Engage and inspire your employees through a workplace giving program today. Contact Jade Delaney at (605) 312-6758 or jade.delaney@sanfordhealth.org to get started.