Dean Phillips: A Record of Service and Community Leadership

Dean Phillips’s birth father, U.S. Army Captain Artie Pfefer, was killed in the Vietnam War in 1969 when Dean was six month old and his mother, DeeDee, was just 24. When she remarried Eddie Phillips, Dean was adopted into a wonderful family that demanded hard work, and those lessons in service to country, employees, and community illuminate Dean’s approach to leadership to this day.

As a family that measures success not by how much is collected rather by how much is shared, Dean’s great-grandfather, Jay Phillips, established one of America’s first documented employee profit-sharing plans in the 1940’s, and the Phillips family foundations have shared more than $400 million (in 2018 dollars) with charitable organizations, mostly in Minnesota, over the past 75 years.

For generations, the Phillips family has been committed to improving the health of our community. From the founding of Mount Sinai Hospital, the first hospital in Minnesota to welcome minority physicians on its staff, to the Phillips Eye Institute, one of the country’s most reputable eye clinics, to the Phillips-Wangensteen medical building at the University of Minnesota — hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans have benefitted from the family’s philanthropy.

In the past decade alone, the Phillips family foundations, which Dean co-chairs, have shared more than $10 million directly with such local health providers as The Mayo Clinic, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Allina Health System, and countless local non-profits that connect our community’s most disadvantaged with the health services they need.

From volunteering at Courage Center during high school, to his recent service as the volunteer Chair of Allina Health’s Board of Directors, one of Minnesota’s largest healthcare providers, Dean has always made community service a personal priority.

Beyond his healthcare service, Dean is the Co-Founder of We Day Minnesota, the largest youth service initiative in Minnesota with programs in over 600 Minnesota schools, and Co-Founder of ManyOne, a program that brings together Republican and Democratic members of the Minnesota legislature to inspire collaboration. He is a former regent at Saint John’s University, former Chair of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation Leadership Council, former board member of the Walker Art Center, former board member of Temple Israel, and former tutor for the Minnesota Reading Corps.


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