Rotert named health care foundation’s executive director
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation has a new executive director, and it’s someone already familiar with both Worthington and its health care-related opportunities.
Jeff Rotert, currently chief operating offier at Sanford Worthington Medical Center, starts June 2 with the foundation. He has spent nearly 25 years with Worthington’s hospital, and foundation board chair Paula Chapulis is excited about the hire.
“The board had been looking at the foundation’s history of it, and is really wanting the foundation to grow and be on the forefront of health care for the region,” Chapulis said. “We were looking at what that would require, and in conversations with the board and in our strategic planning session, we really wanted to find someone that had the background, the ability, the interest, the depth of knowledge and the versatility of knowledge required to take the foundation to the next level. Truly, Jeff has all of that and then some.”
Chapulis said there were roughly 18 applicants for the executive director post that “for the most part” fit the profile, and four were interviewed.
“The financial background, the health care background, the management piece, the community leadership piece, working with a substantial nonprofit — Jeff brings all of those pieces to the table,” Chapulis said. “We’re really excited to have him on board.”
Rotert said Wednesday that he hadn’t planning on a job change until the opportunity with the foundation presented itself.
“It really wasn’t something I was even anticipating or thinking about,” he said. “We were actually on vacation, and the opportunity came ... and my wife and I talked about, and we said, ‘The time may be now.’ I threw my hat in the ring, and now here we are.”
While Rotert said he will miss Sanford Worthington Medical Center, he’s eager to start anew.
“It’s bittersweet, really — I’m leaving a lot of good people and a lot of good friends at the hospital,” Rotert said.
“This is a new chapter with new opportunities and new challenges. I’ve been watching the foundation on the periphery since it was established. The foundation was made possible by the sale of the hospital with both Sanford and city contributions to it, and it’s unique in that not many cities our size have an opportunity with a foundation of this magnitude to make changes in the communities we serve in this region.”
Rotert added that he wants to visit with each of the foundation’s board members and learn more about the strategic planning.
“Once I know the clear direction of the foundation, then I’m charged with getting them wherever they want to go and helping them in their strategic vision.”
The foundation recently surpassed the $1.2 million mark in money awarded during its six-year history, Chapulis said. Among recent grants awarded include $20,000 to the Worthington Area Youth Baseball Association to offer scholarships for kids to encourage further participation in the sport. The foundation also awarded a $50,000 grant to the Southwest Initiative Foundation to set up a scholarship for elderly citizens needing adult day care.
The foundation’s primary fundraising event of the year — its annual golf tournament — is scheduled for July 21 at Worthington Country Club.
“Hopefully, that event will grow, and there’s also potential for other fundraisers, too,” Chapulis said.
Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.