1. Life is short, so do it now.
2. Charitable giving is hard to do effectively and in a personally meaningful way.
I was raised in Wyoming, MN, went to Forest Lake High School, then made the important life decision to attend the College of St. Benedict. My understanding of “neighbor” and “community” grew by being surrounded by incredibly giving people. That continued through my experiences at Hamline Law School, as a lawyer at Rider Bennett, and most recently at Bassford Remele. I learned what justice meant to my neighbors, and as a trial lawyer, I became skilled in investigation, persuasion, and advocacy.
For years, while a member at The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, I was part of the Community Outreach Committee that sought out local charities for grant-giving. I was amazed as I learned about the number and variety of small charitable companies, doing impactful work in our community.
Being a lawyer and becoming more involved in the charitable world intersected last year when I became a trustee of the ABOTA Foundation, the 501-c-3 educational arm of the national trial lawyer group whose mission it is to teach American youth about our justice system and precious right to civil jury trial.
An important advisor, helped guide me from a vague idea of wanting to have a next chapter career, to forming Gunderson Philanthropy Advisors. Yes, I was a remedial student—it took several years to make this happen. I was very deliberate about wanting my next chapter to be personally life-giving and fun. And because of good fortune, and much hard work by both my family and myself, I am able to begin to step out of a successful career in private practice law, and into one focused on charitable efforts.
About Jan Gunderson
Forest Lake High School
College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University - St. Joseph, MN
1980 graduate, BA Psychology
Hamline University School of Law - St. Paul, MN
1986 graduate, Juris Doctor
Summer/pre-college graduate jobs -
summer nanny, founder of Gunderson Private Swimming Instruction, Forest Lake Beach supervisor/lifeguard/instructor, floral designer/greenhouse worker
1980 - H.I.R.E.D.- (Helping Industry Resolve Employment Disabilities) Vocational Counselor - Mpls, MN
1981-86 - Floral store manager, supper club waitress , legal researcher, legal instructor, law clerk - Vallejo, CA /St. Paul MN
1986-2007 - Rider Bennett LLP law firm - attorney/partner, Mpls, MN
2007-present - Bassford Remele PA law firm- shareholder/Of Counsel - Mpls, MN
Gunderson Philanthropy Advisors, LLC- Founder, Mpls, MN, 2015
Hamline University School of Law - Alumni Board, member/chair
The Firefly Sisterhood, 2014-present
ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates)
Mn Chapter- Executive Committee member/chair- 2003-2007
National Board- 2009-present
National Executive Committee— 2013
FOUNDATION Trustee- 2014-present; Treasurer 2015
Cress Family Fund, Co-director, 2008-present