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Our Benefactor

T. Denny Sanford

T. Denny Sanford

After building successful businesses in South Dakota, Mr. Denny Sanford's philanthropic drive is fueled by a sense of responsibility and gratitude to those who contributed to his success.

"It's payback time for me," he said. "I want to give something back to the people of the region who've been such an integral part of my good fortune."

In 2007, Mr. Sanford made history with his gift of $400 million to Sanford Health—the largest donation ever to a health care organization. This remarkable action of our benefactor and namesake transformed the future of health care regionally, nationally and globally.

The transformational gift established four distinct focus areas called the Sanford Initiatives. These unique and defining elements help Sanford Health build a world-class reputation and strategic partnerships to fulfill its commitment to health and healing. They include:

Commitment to Children and Families: to provide necessary permanent health services for children and young families in areas of need around the world.

Commitment to Cure Type 1 Diabetes: to identify and resolve one of the most pressing health issues of our day.

  • Learn more about the Sanford Project, which is dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Commitment to Research: to allow significant growth in all areas of Sanford Research, make significant commitments toward unique initiatives in health research and create the Sanford Children's Health Research Center.

  • Learn more about Sanford Research.
  • Learn more about PROMISE—Program for the Midwest Initiative in Science Exploration.

Commitment to Innovation: to implement a new approach to health care campus and facility design supporting the activities of the system.

To ensure patients have access to world-class care, Sanford Health continues to design some of the most innovative facilities found across the globe. Some of these include the Sanford Heart Hospital, Sanford Medical Center in Aberdeen, Sanford Children's Hospital, the future new medical campus in Fargo and The Sanford Sports Complex.

In 2011, Mr. Sanford provided another $100 million gift to Sanford Health to launch Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, named after his mother who died of breast cancer when he was 4 years old, which is dedicated to unlocking each woman's genetic code to advance today's prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

In 2014, he so graciously donated $125 million to establish Sanford Imagenetics. a first-of-its-kind program in the country that integrates genomic medicine into primary care for adults. Sanford Imagenetics will offer patients the opportunity to undergo precise genetic testing and genetic counseling which will provide internal medicine physicians with unprecedented patient-specific information.

Through his amazing generosity, Mr. Sanford is helping Sanford Health improve the human condition around the world. We are deeply grateful for his vision, leadership and—most especially—his friendship.