Get to Know Wally Abramson, Director of Leadership Giving

Wally in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with heart patient Phuc and her mother Cuc, and Children’s HeartLink board member Dr. Ken Stein and his wife Jackie


Tell us a little bit about your background and why it led you to Children’s HeartLink.

I’ve worked in three other nonprofit settings over the past 28 years, all of them here in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. And I’ve always known about Children’s HeartLink and the great work it does so when the opportunity presented itself, I was very eager to join the team. We have a great mission and outstanding leadership.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

Traveling with our medical volunteers, getting to know the medical teams at our partner sites, and meeting the mothers and fathers of the children who have received care is the most rewarding, and motivating, aspect of my job. I would love to be able to take all of our donors to these places so they could have this same experience.

What are the most important traits for your job?

Perseverance, gratitude and a positive spirit! I’m fortunate to work with a great team of people who are dedicated to a compelling mission of saving the lives of children.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I must have been a bread baker in another life. A good weekend involves baking off a few loaves of homemade bread with a little birdwatching squeezed in while the loaves are proofing.

What is something that people find surprising about you?

I can trace my lineage to the Mayflower.

Tell us about your family. 

I’ve known my wife of 36 years since the second grade. We were both raised in Minneapolis and have three adult children. One lives in Sweden, one lives in Minneapolis, one is in the Marines. Our cell phones are filled with photos of our three grandchildren.

Wally advances our mission through charitable giving from individuals and families. He cares deeply about connecting with people who are passionate about saving the lives of children with heart disease. Wally has worked in fundraising for 25 years, for the United Negro College Fund and Minnesota Land Trust, among others. He joined our team in 2015.