About Us

Foundation Leadership & Staff

JoAnn Birkholz

Executive Director, Medica Foundation

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JoAnn Birkholz has been with Medica since 1999 and is the director of the Medica Foundation. In 2003, when Medica separated from Allina Health System, JoAnn built the Medica Foundation from the ground up.  During this re-establishment of the Medica Foundation, she led the development of infrastructure and processes which have paved the way for today’s growth. She is currently leading efforts to expand the foundation’s geographic footprint throughout the central United States.

JoAnn is an active member with the Minnesota Council on Foundations and Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. She served on the board of the Minnesota Council on Foundations from 2013 – 2018, where she was Board Secretary and chair of the Membership Committee.  She volunteers for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board of directors for the Wayzata Lake Effect Conservancy.  JoAnn is also a past board member for Bolder Options and continues serving on their Advisory Board.

After earning her undergraduate degree in Nursing from the University of Tulsa, JoAnn went on to obtain her master’s degree in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management. Before joining the Medica Foundation, Ms. Birkholz held several positions in the health care industry, including managed care, home care consulting and direct hospital nursing. Her background as a registered nurse has been invaluable in connecting with the work of grant partners, and relating to the joys and challenges of providing quality care.



Heather Craig

Foundation Coordinator, Medica Foundation

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Heather Craig joined Medica in 1998 and has been the Medica Foundation coordinator since March 2006. Heather is responsible for the grants management and reporting processes at the Medica Foundation. In her role, she also supports the volunteer committees that make grant making decisions and provide grant oversight.

Heather is a long-standing member of the Grant Performance Committee and enjoys working with grantees that support children, families and LGBTQ issues. She has served on the steering committee of PEAK Grantmaking (formerly the Grants Manager’s Network) and has been the regional chair for PEAK. Heather earned her BA from Macalester College and worked at United HealthCare before coming to Medica.


Shelly d’Almeida

Shelly d’Almeida

Program Manager, Medica Foundation

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As a Program Manager for the Medica Foundation, Shelly d’Almeida leads foundation activities and charitable giving in Medica’s new expansion states, and manages regional community engagement and volunteerism. Shelly has a strong background in both nonprofit development and corporate philanthropy, and enjoys working to support nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in communities across the country. She joined the Medica Foundation team in 2019.

Shelly has her undergraduate degree in English and Communications from the University of Minnesota. After teaching English in Japan for two years, she started her career in international philanthropy working in New York City for an organization supporting children’s healthcare in Cambodia. Shelly attained her master’s degree in International Relations from Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland and continued to work to support international philanthropy projects around the world.

After returning to Minnesota, Shelly took the opportunity to work in corporate philanthropy, viewing her work from a different lens. Prior to working at the Medica Foundation she was a Community Affairs Consultant for the Wells Fargo Foundation, managing strategic philanthropy in three states, including charitable giving and volunteerism. She has a long history of volunteering for and supporting a number of nonprofit organizations, and enjoys working with a variety of nonprofits that support community health.


Gina DiMaggio

Program Manager, Medica Foundation

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As a Program Manager for the Medica Foundation, Gina DiMaggio leads and mentors the Grant Performance Committee, oversees strategic grants, and manages Foundation and corporate social responsibility communications. She is curious about cross sector learning to improve our communities and advance the field of philanthropy.

Gina got her community organizing start in Costa Rica where she helped create the first recycling program in the district to improve waste management and environmental conditions in a community heavily reliant on tourism. She brings six years of grant program and grants management experience from the Pohlad Family Foundation where she managed several program areas, organized employee volunteer projects and oversaw special funding projects including a volunteer effort to commemorate the 2014 All-Star baseball game. She regularly volunteers at Open Arms and serves on the communications committee of the Corporate Volunteerism Council-Twin Cities. Previously, she served as the secretary of the board of directors for Eat for Equity and chaired the greening committee of her neighborhood association.

Gina studied in 11 countries while earning her B.A. with high honors from Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida.


Taneal Palmer

Taneal Palmer

Program Manager, Medica Foundation

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As a Program Manager for the Medica Foundation, Taneal Palmer leads and supports the problem-solving needs of grantees for the Foundation. She manages the full grantmaking cycle. Taneal partners with grantees to establish a plan to measure and evaluate their program impact. She focuses on developing authentic relationships to support the work of the nonprofit sector.

Taneal's career has been focused on Early Childhood Development and its impact on adulthood. Which included focus studies on positive parenting approaches, identification of intervention needs in health, eddistrict ucation and ending generational cycles of abuse. Her community work is centered around relationships and supporting individuals in meeting their goals. Taneal has served on the Board of Directors for Western Oregon Advanced Health and the Courageous heARTS Community Studio of Minneapolis. Previously, she chaired the Wellness Committee for Lutheran Social Service of MN. Taneal is also a member of the Crow Wing Energized, Adverse Childhood Experiences Resiliency Coalition.

Her passion for serving others, guided her to earning a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration and Healthcare Management from the University of Phoenix - College of Health Science and Nursing. Before joining Medica, Taneal worked as an Consultant for various philanthropic and nonprofit entities in areas of: strategic planning; community engagement; grantmaking; parent leadership; mentor and mentee relationships; trauma informed care and mental wellness.