Press Releases

Children’s Minnesota Foundation board names new leaders and members

Foundation board celebrates $30.8 million raised in its second year and aims to build on that success in 2015

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. – (February 11, 2015) – Children’s Minnesota today announced the appointments of Donna Roback, Nancy Baker and Connie Aram to its Foundation board. Children’s also named Greg Goven board chair, Gary Blackford vice chair, and Michael Richards, MD, board treasurer.

The dedicated work of Children’s Foundation and its board members helps ensure children across the region have access to comprehensive, high-quality, patient- and family-centered care. In 2014, the members of the Foundation board helped raise a record-breaking $30.8 million and announced the completion of the largest fundraising campaign in the organization’s history. This seven-year campaign secured $168.7 million in philanthropic gifts from more than 48,000 donors. It was the largest among independent pediatric hospitals in the five-state region, and the money raised powered Children’s to complete a $300 million renovation and expansion.

With decades of health care, business and volunteer experience, the new members and leaders will work to continue advancing care for kids in our region and beyond:

  • Donna Roback is an attorney that has practiced business and employment law, as well as alternative dispute resolution. She and her late husband, Dr. Stacy Roback, a pediatric surgeon, have been involved with Children’s for many years and consider Children’s a second home. Donna believes community support, medical excellence and exceptional leadership have enabled Children’s to become the nation-leading system it is today and she is dedicated to supporting Children’s in its next stage of growth in her role as board member of the foundation.
  • Nancy Baker is president of The Children’s Association-Minneapolis. She is a dedicated member, natural leader and strong advocate for the organization. Nancy is passionately committed to the PAWH (Pets Assisting With Healing) program at Children’s and volunteers with her dog, Charlie, visiting kids in Children’s Maple Grove clinic.
  • Connie Aram currently serves as president of Children’s Hospital Association-St. Paul. She has been a committed volunteer of Children’s for more than a decade and was also president of CHA in 2007. Connie has served in many leadership roles throughout her life including 10 years on an advisory board for a shelter for homeless young girls with children.
  • Greg Goven, retired senior vice president of C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. will be serving as incoming chair, responsible for leading Children’s Foundation board as it continues to ensure every child in the region has access to comprehensive, high-quality, patient- and family-centered care, while providing resources for innovation to help advance care nationally. Greg joined Children’s Foundation board as vice chair in 2013. He also is a member of Children’s corporate board and he chaired Children’s Mother Baby Center task force. His daughter Tami Goven, a leader in advocacy for children, co-chairs the task force raising funds to support the expansion of Children’s Center for the Treatment of Eating Disorders.
  • Gary Blackford has been a member of Children’s Foundation board since it launched in 2013 and will now serve as vice chair. Gary brings a wealth of health care industry experience to Children’s having spent 25 years in the health business space serving as a board member of several health care focused companies, and currently as chairman and CEO of Universal Hospital Services Inc. Gary has a passion for supporting kids’ health and does so through both philanthropic and volunteer efforts.
  • Dr. Michael Richards has been a member of Children’s Foundation board since its inaugural year, 2013, and will now serve as board treasurer. He is currently managing partner at Kirke Financial Services LLC and vice chairman of Quatro Composites LLC. He has an active management role in several other portfolio companies. Previously Dr. Richards spent 22 years in the practice of general internal and administrative medicine. He was CEO of Iowa Physicians Clinic and served as the initial chief medical officer of the Iowa Health (now UnityPoint Health).

“The members of the Foundation board play a vital role in our endeavor to ensure every child has access to the best specialized health care available,” said Theresa Pesch, RN, president of the Children’s Minnesota Foundation. “As we welcome these new board members and officers, I’m confident their dedication and passion will help Children’s continue to keep kids health a priority in our community.”

The new Foundation board members and leaders will join current foundation board members:

  • Greg Goven, Chair
  • Gary Blackford, Vice Chair
  • Michael Richards, MD, Treasurer
  • Mike Ciresi, Immediate Past Chair
  • Russ Becker, Hospital Board Chair
  • Connie Aram
  • Nancy Baker
  • Patricia A. Comeford Adams
  • Shannon Evenstad
  • Greg Frankenfield
  • Scott Gill
  • Bill Jeatran
  • Irv Kessler
  • Matt Majka
  • Charles J. Maxwell, Jr.
  • Tom McGough, Jr.
  • David Miller
  • Patrick Ryan
  • Robert (Bob) I. Bonar, Jr., Dr. H.A.
  • Theresa Pesch (ex officio)

About Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Minnesota is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty-care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Children’s maintains its longstanding commitment to the community to improve children’s health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services and advancing those efforts through research and education. This work is made possible in large part by generous philanthropic and volunteer support from individuals and organizations throughout the state and region. An award-winning health system, Children’s is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital and by The Leapfrog Group for quality and efficiency. Please visit