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Scott Powder: Chief Strategy Officer and Philanthropist

Scott Powder started his career at Advocate Health Care in 1993 after earning his master’s degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He has held numerous business development and strategy positions during his tenure, and was recently named Chief Strategy Officer for Advocate Aurora Health. In this role, Scott is responsible for strategy, innovation and long-range strategic planning and business development activities, including mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Scott also plays another important role at Advocate: philanthropist. Scott made his first gift to Advocate in 1995 and has given back every year since.

Why is it important to give back to Advocate?
I am blessed to have a great position with a great organization. I have been around a long time and have seen the impact of what we do every day for our patients, families and communities. I want to help amplify our ability to help people live well—and philanthropy is an excellent way to provide that extra level of care and compassion.

I also want to set a good example for others through my giving.  I want my children to understand the importance of philanthropy and giving back to your community. I recently included my eldest daughter in some of our family’s charitable decisions. In addition, I want to be a role model for my fellow leaders and team members across the Advocate Aurora Health system. There is nothing better than supporting an organization, like ours, that is doing great things.

What programs do you support through charitable giving?
I have given to many funds throughout the years, but for the past few years, I have focused my giving to Advocate’s Childhood Trauma Treatment Program (CTTP). I believe strongly in their mission to provide a range of specialized services for children, teens and families that have experienced sexual abuse and maltreatment. The program’s impact has been immeasurable; not only in the lives of the individuals and families through daily direct service, but also through its commitment to train clinical professionals who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of this vulnerable population, as well as train the general adult population to prevent abuse of children in their communities.

My most recent gift was split between CTTP and the new Advocate Innovation Fund. I am very excited about the opportunity to partner with Advocate Charitable Foundation to support innovation through philanthropy. Many of Advocate’s earliest innovation efforts were jumpstarted by philanthropy, including our eICU. Innovation is so important in our current health care environment, and as a system we are committed to reimagining the possibilities through creative ideas and solutions.

What are the different ways you give back?
I always give through Advocate’s internal giving campaign, historically by payroll deduction. I have also contributed to capital campaigns and attended special events. In fact, I am in a band that has played at several fundraising events. But more recently, I have explored planning giving opportunities. For the past two years, I worked with Advocate’s Charitable Foundation’s gift planning team to set up flexible deferred gift annuities.

What is a flexible charitable gift annuity?
A flexible deferred gift annuity is a simple contract where the donor makes a gift to the organization, and the organization agrees to pay a fixed sum each year for life starting at a future date. It is called “flexible” because the donor can opt to start payments later for better annuity rates.

I liked the idea that I could take care of two things at one time—make a meaningful gift with immediate impact, while funding for retirement down the road. Plus, it allows me to write a larger check now and receive tax benefits this year.

What do you hope will come from your charitable support of Advocate?
Advocate offers so many options for how to give and what to support. I like being able to fund programs that are not reimbursed, like CTTP. It is such a vital program, and philanthropy can help it increase its capacity and make sure it is around for children and families for years to come. I am excited that my family can impact the lives of so many people.