Brian Lally is the senior vice president and chief development officer at Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals, 900 outpatient facilities and 83,000 employees.
Lally launched the organization’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign in 2016, which surpassed its $1 billion goal for capital, programmatic, research and endowment initiatives ahead of schedule in 2022 and was extended through 2024, increasing the goal to $1.4 billion.
Prior to joining Northwell in 2014, Lally served as chief development officer at the University of Michigan Health System and before that, as chief advancement officer at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center/Dartmouth Medical School for 12 years where he ran the most successful campaign in the institution’s history.
He also held numerous positions in the development program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center over his 18 years with the organization. Lally holds a B.A. from Queens College and an MBA in finance from St. John’s University.
How do you see your business evolving due to the changing times?
Northwell is truly a special place. We are an organization that is adaptable.
Our core mission has never changed, but we remain prepared and ready to pivot to address emerging, critical needs. We go where others won’t, and we’ve always focused on how we can help solve the greatest needs facing our communities by creating programs in areas such as food insecurity, scholarships, behavioral health, and gun violence prevention.
All of these issues have health implications, and helping to address them early will have a positive impact on the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve.
What advice would you give other nonprofit leaders?
When we launched Outpacing the Impossible, Northwell’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, no one could have anticipated a pandemic that would shut down the world. Northwell was in the epicenter and facing a healthcare crisis we had never seen before.
Our courageous healthcare heroes rose to the challenge of COVID, while also caring for everyone facing all the other health challenges that didn’t go away. People depend on us. That makes it easy to remember why we do what we do, every day.
My advice to others would be to plan for what you can but know there will always be unexpected challenges. Create a team and a culture that can flex and adapt to issues when they emerge. Valuing trust, empowerment, and innovation help enable that team to be the best that they can be. And lastly, as individuals, the importance of having tenacity.
When asking people to support important causes like those we have at Northwell, you can’t give up. Building relationships is key, and I say you have to get at least three no’s before giving up. If you are still talking after no, that is a conversation.