Judy Blaseg recently signed on as vice president of philanthropy at Ecumen. While she has raised money for good causes her entire career, this new job involves fundraising that is especially personal.
Judy’s mother is now in a dementia and Alzheimer’s care facility, much like those Ecumen operates, as was her now-deceased aunt, who had early onset Alzheimer’s.
“I know first-hand that it takes dedicated caregivers, safe and structured surroundings—and philanthropy—to ensure that those who need this specialized care receive it,” Judy says.
Judy grew up with an understanding of senior services. Her mother worked for 30 years as an activities director in a long-term care community. So when the Ecumen opportunity came her way, Judy felt a compelling convergence of experience and passion.
Now her work life and home life complement each other in special ways. On a recent visit to Ecumen Lakeview Commons in Maplewood she noted that every Thursday night is bonfire-and-smores night. That sparked an idea.
“My mother’s 85th birthday is coming up, and I have decided to give my hometown nursing home a bonfire pit in her honor,” Judy says. “I just loved that idea, and I hope my mom will soon be toasting marshmallows with her pals, just like they do at Lakeview Commons.”
Judy grew up in Hand County, South Dakota. For the past 25 years, she has worked in philanthropy and fundraising for numerous local and national organizations, including Catholic Charities, VocalEssence, and the Jeremiah Program. She has served on many boards including Mill City Summer Opera, Citizens League, DeLaSalle High School and MinnPost. She and her husband live in Minneapolis and have three children.
“Since coming to Ecumen, I’ve already met so many grateful family members who truly appreciate what we do, and I so personally understand their gratitude,” Judy says. “It connects me in a special way and makes my job so much more meaningful.”