T. Denny Sanford is a South Dakotan who has done well. He built First Premier Bank and Premeir Bankcard. When he decided to give his fortune away, he attempted to give millions of dollars to the University of Minnesota. However, the Minnesotans rejected his gift. Bad for them, good for us.
Mr. Sanford repurposed most of the money that would have gone to the U of M to the University of South Dakota, helping to expand the medical school at my alma matter.
Then just this month, Denny Sanford made news around the world. He gave four hundred million dollars to Sioux Valley Hospital, (one of the two hub hospitals in Sioux Falls, along with Avera McKennan). The great news hit the New York Times, hit the blogsv, and even hit the Chinese press.
From the Times:
Now, T. Denny Sanford, a low-key billionaire who made his home and fortune here, will help sustain the stateâ€™s economic boom with a $400 million gift to the Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System, the stateâ€™s largest employer. Hospital officials hope the gift â€” the largest ever to a hospital, according to the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University â€” will help transform Sioux Valley Hospitals, which will change its name to Sanford Health, into a national institution that will eclipse Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic.
â€œHe told me he doesnâ€™t want this to be just another Mayo,â€ said Kelby K. Krabbenhoft, Sioux Valleyâ€™s chief executive.
It has four stated goals: to build five pediatric clinics around the country; to expand research, especially in pediatrics; to build a health care campus with more than 20 separate facilities, and to identify a promising line of medical research and follow it to a cure, much the same way John D. Rockefellerâ€™s money found a cure for yellow fever and Bill Gates is searching for a cure for H.I.V./AIDS…
Mr. Sanfordâ€™s gift is greater than the total assets of $256 million held by South Dakotaâ€™s 126 foundations in 2004, according to data compiled by the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
Bigger than Mayo?
Thank you, Mr. Sanford.