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Helping Make Miracles Happen

Published March 2024 | In Spring 2024

Shawn Powers doesn’t treat pediatric patients at Monument Health, but his work impacts their lives each and every day — not through clinical care, but through his role as the program manager of Children’s Miracle Network.

Helping Make Miracles Happen Media

“As program manager of Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) with the Monument Health Foundation, I’m responsible for raising funds that support our pediatric patients. These funds help local kids, from infants requiring critical care in the NICU to older children treated in the pediatric unit. Support for CMN plays a significant role in the comfort and care of those young patients.”

Children’s Miracle Network is a national organization that was founded more than 40 years ago to empower local communities to support health care for children. There are 170 CMN programs in the United States and Canada.

Monument Health launched its CMN program in 1989. Shawn joined the program in 2010 and took over as program manager five years later. Today, CMN raises approximately $800,000 each year through local efforts. It’s become so successful that last year Monument Health’s program was awarded a national award from CMN — the Highest Percentage Increase Award — for 138.69 percent year-over-year growth.

“This percentage was the highest of all 170 hospitals, big and small, in the entire CMN network,” said Hans Nelson, Director of the Monument Health Foundation. “This wouldn't have happened without Shawn at the helm.”

Monument Health CMN provides funds for a wide range of supplies and equipment for children being treated. That might include a $35,000 Giraffe bed for premature infants in the NICU to simple comfort items such as blankets, toys and games for children in the pediatrics unit. It could mean helping with travel expenses for a sick kid or providing helmets to youth in the helmet safety program.

The newest CMN fundraising event, launched two years ago under Shawn’s leadership, is the Golden Guitars Gala.

In partnership with Rapid City native Kory Van Sickle of the band Kory & the Fireflies, the Golden Guitars Gala brings a bit of musical glamor to the CMN mission.

Kory designed a custom guitar for Monument Health CMN, a fully-functional, ribbon-shaped gold flake model. When musical acts perform at The Monument in Rapid City, they’re asked to sign one of the guitars. Kory also uses his musical contacts to get guitars autographed by artists around the country. Then, on the second Saturday of June each year, CMN holds its Golden Guitars Gala in Rapid City, where they auction off 18 to 19 autographed guitars.

Guitars have been signed by music superstars like Willie Nelson, Morgan Wallen, Foreigner, Journey and many more.

In just two years, the event has raised more than half a million dollars. “A lot of that success is because of Shawn's leadership, attention to detail, communication and overall event execution,” said Hans.

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“My goal is to generate as much support for CMN and young patients as possible,” Shawn said. “This isn’t just about a dollar amount — although every cent helps kids in our community — it’s also about connecting to the community and finding ways to reach people who want to help.”

With Shawn leading the program, CMN raises funds through events and programs, including a golf tournament, mediathon, corporate partnerships and more. “Every single dollar raised in our community stays in our community,” Shawn said. “We have very strong local support, and it makes such a huge impact on the program and the kids in our care.”

While Shawn doesn’t work with patients directly, he’s passionate about the idea that his work has a direct impact on them. It makes his job especially rewarding. He also enjoys helping donors find their own passion — a cause they want to support in CMN. “Making a charitable gift can be highly personal and for many of our donors it is a well-though-out decision," he said. "We value belief in our purpose, and we want our supporters to understand the impact they have on our pediatric patients.”

“In one of my first jobs out of college, I worked at a Colorado golf resort known for exceptional customer service. I learned how to bring events to customers and create the very best experience for them. I do my best to bring that same philosophy to my work at CMN,” Shawn said. He goes out of his way to ensure that donors feel connected to the cause through flawlessly planned events like the Golden Guitars Gala and personalized experiences like meeting some of the children who have been helped by CMN funds. The relationship building in his work is what brings him particular joy.

“I get to meet and work with so many amazing people and help connect them to the cause,” he said. “It’s the best part of my job.”

Story by Lynn Taylor Rick
Photos by Bob Slocum

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