South Dakota Businessman Among Americas Most Generous Donors

South Dakota Businessman T. Denny Sanford is one of the most generous donors in the United States, according to a list released today by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

South Dakota Businessman T. Denny Sanford is one of the most generous donors in the United States, according to a list released today by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Mr. Sanford, who is Chairman and CEO of United Corporation, and Chairman of First Premier Bank and Premier Bankcard, Inc. in Sioux Falls, SD, donated $70.6 million in 2005. Mr. Sanford ranked 14th out of 63 philanthropists on The Chronicle’s annual list.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is the newspaper of the nonprofit world. The Chronicle annually ranks the 60 donors who give the most money to charitable causes; for the 2005 list, 63 donors were included because of ties.

In 2005, Mr. Sanford donated $20 million to Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for expansion projects at the University of South Dakota's School of Medicine. The school was then renamed the Sanford School of Medicine in honor of Mr. Sanford. The hospital, which is the primary teaching facility associated with the medical school, gave the university $4 million last year, and will continue to give it $2 million a year for the next eight years.

"He has always believed it is critical to help the young members of our society, whether in health care or education," says Brian Mortenson, President of the Sioux Valley Foundation. "Mr. Sanford believes our future depends on how we nurture our children and young people."

Mr. Sanford also gave $15 million to the Mayo Foundation, in Rochester, Minnesota in 2005. Most of the donation - $10 million - will pay for a new pediatric outpatient center at the Mayo Clinic, and the remaining $5 million will establish an endowment to support joint research and education programs run by the clinic and Sanford Children's Hospital, in Sioux Falls. Mr. Sanford also awarded $21.6 million to child-welfare, community, and health charities.

"We are fortunate as a community to have a man with Mr. Sanford’s vision and dedication to children who continues to back up his convictions with substantial investments in both infrastructure, personnel and training," says Becky Nelson, President of Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center. "Lives will be changed forever thanks to Mr. Sanford's generosity."

According to The Chronicle America's most-generous donors contributed a total of $4.3 billion to charity last year. The largest donation in 2005 was a $404 million bequest from Cordelia Scaife May, who inherited her money from the Mellon banking fortune. For a complete list, go to http://philanthropy.com/.