Jim and Jeanne Prittinen: Return of Serve

Two things run deep in the Prittinen family: tennis and a respect for giving back.

In tennis, “return of serve” is one of the most important shots beyond the serve itself. For the Prittinens, it is also a turn of phrase that encapsulates a fundamental family value—a commitment to return, or pay forward, all the ways they’ve been served by their community through the years.

Quietly yet deliberately, the Prittinens have been generous to local causes close to their heart. Retired from his dental practice, Jim coaches boys’ and girls’ high school tennis, volunteering countless hours alongside his 92-year-old dad; it is a continuation of his father’s 40-year tradition. Jeanne contributes her time as a volunteer Board member for the Essentia Health-Virginia Regional Foundation. She served her first term while raising their young family, and recently returned to the Board—at the same time as one daughter and son-in-law also join Essentia Health as physicians in Duluth.

As a couple, Jeanne and Jim have also been committed donors to the Essentia Health-Virginia Regional Foundation. Their connections and appreciation are personal.

Jeanne watched her grandmother dedicate her career to pediatric nursing at Essentia Health-Virginia. Jim admired the hospital’s professional partnership that helped him to care for underserved populations—pediatric, special needs or older patients—who needed a safe environment for dentistry under anesthesia. From births to major surgeries, the hospital has delivered outstanding, personal care to the Prittinens.

Reflecting on what is special about Virginia, Jim and Jeanne know that relationships and trust are paramount—not only for healthcare, but also for philanthropy. “Giving locally demonstrates trust in the people who care for us and a commitment to what we can do together,” says Jim.

Virginia offers that special, tight-knit sense of community. You’ll probably see your nurse at the grocery store. You might have known some of the staff since their grade school years (including Annie Bachschneider, our Foundation Associate!). And whether you give back dollars or time, you can be confident that your influence and impact stays close to home.

The Prittinens are not keen on the spotlight, but they agreed to share their story in hopes of encouraging others that they can have local, targeted influence as well.

“I think it is important for people to know that consistent, small gifts add up to make a big difference,” says Jeanne. “Jim and I have been given a lot by our community during our time living here. Giving back is not only important today—it is an investment in the families who come after us.”

Like any true coach, the Prittinens are modeling the way. Return of service is a simple action, but a powerful play.

If you’re interested in discussing ways to leave a mark on community health care and local patients, contact Annie Bachschneider at [email protected] or 218-742-8605.

How to Make an Online Donation

Visit our Give a Gift page and select from our list of Essentia Health campaigns and local foundations.

More Opportunities to Give

Learn about other organizations that support care at Essentia Health:


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