History and Board

Our History

The Impact Institute was formed through the innovative partnership of Dakota Medical and the Alex Stern Family Foundations, who witnessed a need for charities that went beyond granting dollars and included a demand for knowledge and skills by nonprofit leaders, particularly around fundraising.

In 2005, the Impact Institute was founded to build the capabilities of others to make the greatest impact possible. With a goal to help improve the fundraising efforts of nonprofit organizations through assessment, training and coaching. It is designed to be a vehicle of innovation and collaboration to provide member charities with experiences that both enrich and equip them to reach their goals and unleash their potential to create an even greater impact for those they serve.

Over the course of the last decade, thousands of nonprofit executives have attended Impact Institute sessions and used its resources to become more effective fundraisers—increasing their impact exponentially.

In 2008, the Impact Institute led the efforts in shaping the overall strategy and training for a pilot giving day designed to stimulate giving activity online on in the month of February around the theme of Valentine’s day. This became Giving Hearts Day, which has raised over $41 million dollars since its inception and is now one of the most effective giving days in the country.

In 2015, the Impact Institute was awarded a Bush Prize for Community Innovation, which honors and supports innovative organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. Visit here to learn more about the Impact Institute and the Bush Prize.

Board of Directors

The Impact Institute is very serious about surrounding ourselves with smart, experienced people who can help us serve our members. Our Board of Directors is passionate about making an Impact and work tirelessly as a team with our staff. We are incredibly grateful for their talents and contributions.

Our board is comprised of Dan Carey, Dr. Susan Mathison, and Phil Hansen.

Dan Carey

VISIONBank Founder

“I am very proud to have been part of creating what has become a tremendous resource to all nonprofit organizations. The growth of Impact through Pat’s leadership and development of a great team is an entrepreneurial success story. The nonprofit world can rely on Impact for programs and training to build sustainable operations,” says Carey.

Dr. Susan Mathison

Catalyst Medical Center Founder

“The foundation represents innovation. Our board and the Impact team continually challenge ourselves to look for new approaches to impact quality of life in our region,” reflects Dr. Mathison. “We leverage resources and smart minds in our community to try ideas and test new approaches. Impact has a powerful combination of energy and focus.”

Phil Hansen

Former NFL football player, business owner, philanthropist and NDSU Bison football color commentator

“Impact lives up to its name with a get-it-done approach. Everyone works like the game clock is at the two minute warning. Once we’ve set the big vision, it’s never long before a project or program gets started and results can be seen,” says Hansen. “The pace and the broad reach – touching so many organizations, communities and sectors – make it exciting to be involved.”


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