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Issue Date: April 2008

The Influentials: Sherri Bishop and Sharon Klonowski

Sherri Bishop
Senior vice president institutional relations and development, University Hospitals
Sharon Klonowski
Director of Circle of Friends, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
The sleeping giant has awakened.” That’s how Sherri Bishop hears people describe the changes at University Hospitals. Since she took over fundraising in 2004, there’s been a nearly 500 percent increase, from about $13 million to $63 million a year. In 2007, she helped orchestrate the largest gift ever given to the hospital — $30 million from the Ahuja family. There’s no secret to her success, she says, it’s just having a “well-articulated, compelling vision.” Meanwhile, Sharon Klonowski is innovatively working the other end of the giving spectrum through her Circle of Friends program, which raises funds within groups of friends by encouraging them to host everything from wine tastings to raffles. In her five years at Rainbow, Klonowski has motivated people to give $1.75 million in these sorts of smaller donations. A little boy named Ronnie started one such circle last summer. He held a lemonade stand and donated his $32.76 in profits to Rainbow.

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