From our beginning, Innovize has had a strong commitment to giving back to the community. We have matched the contributions that our associates make to their favorite charities, but we wanted to make stronger connection that would allow our associates to leave a legacy and to make a lasting difference.

After meeting with several worthy causes, John Ledy and Dave Jessen met with Dr. Dan Saltzman, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, to tour of the children’s hospital at University of Minnesota. They sat down with representatives of the  University of Minnesota Foundation who shared some of the opportunities for Innovize and our associates to donate and volunteer at the hospital. After seeing the amazing work their team was doing, John and Dave began our partnership with the U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital in 2013. Some of the many reasons include:

  • U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital is filled with “people who care” and are really making a difference in the lives of some of the sickest children in the country.
  • As a research hospital, the doctors are pioneering new and innovative procedures that will make a lasting difference to children’s medicine.
  • The hospital’s team embraces a culture of quality and performance excellence and uses measurement and meaningful data to drive improvement. Their team-based approach and high engagement matches very well with our culture at Innovize.
  • Innovize associates have an opportunity to donate both money and time, no matter how large or small, in a very meaningful way.
  • It’s very organized and welcoming environment for volunteers and makes it easy for us to become involved and make meaningful donations of our time and money.
  • When volunteering at the hospital, Innovize associates often see many of the products they helped make being used to care for sick children.

At the end of 2019, Innovize completed its funding of the PICU Innovize Room. The room was designed in partnership with Philips Lighting based on input from patients, parents and care providers. The system helps young patients heal by promoting their bodies’ own natural circadian rhythms by adapting the lighting from day to night.

Our next five-year commitment is to:

  • Dave Lee’s Backyard Patio: The WCCO radio host has partnered with the U of M Masonic Children’s hospital to bring Dave Lee’s Backyard Patio with Innovize as the first cornerstone partner providing financial and volunteer support for the project. It will provide the patients and their families with an opportunity to go out and interact with the natural environment.
  • Art Therapy Program gives the children the opportunity to work with a professional Art Therapist. This benefits the children in many ways with developing their relationships and emotional connections. Having access to art therapy can help pediatric patients and families express experiences and feelings that they cannot put into words.
  • Dan Saltzman’s Research has been focusing on a new therapy in the fight against cancer. He is using altered of “attenuated” salmonella bacteria to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to tumor cells. The early phases of this research have been highly successful, but before this therapy can be used to treat cancer patients, more work and research need to be done.
  • Super Hero Day: the children will get to an opportunity to experience superhero appearances, activities and a dance party. This day give the children an opportunity to distract the children and families from their diagnosis and gives them a chance to laugh and jump and play. There will be opportunities to volunteer, costumes encouraged.

Innovize associates also have an opportunity to volunteer by providing hands-on event support throughout the year at the hospital. Events include Movie nights, Superhero day, gopher tailgating and crafts for St. Patrick’s Day. Our associates also bring the comforts of home to the children by creating handmade hats and blankets and donating books and stuffed animals.

Innovize hosts two fundraising events annually. Chip In For Children’s Golf Tournament is held at Como Park Golf each spring and our Heart & Sole 5K Run/3K Walk in the late summer/early fall. Dozens of associates, family members, our valued suppliers and members of the community join in the fun and fund-raising at these popular events.

Look for future updates on our News page as we take meaningful actions that support our purpose at Innovize, “Creating a culture and products that improve people’s lives”.

u of m children's hospital logo