News and analysis
February 08, 2015

No. 15: T. Denny Sanford

UC San Diego

Amount donated in 2014: $150.5-million

Top beneficiary: Sanford Health Foundation

Other notable gift: South Dakota Community Foundation

Background: Mr. Sanford is chairman of United National Corporation, a banking business.

T. Denny Sanford, a banking tycoon in South Dakota, pledged $125-million to the Sanford Health Foundation to establish Sanford Imagenetics, a program to integrate genomic medicine and primary care for adults. The program aims to provide patients with genetic testing and counseling and to give internal-medicine physicians enough genetic information on their patients to improve care.

The donor says he hopes the money can eventually be used as well to construct a new building in Sioux Falls, S.D., for an internal-medicine and genomics center.

The 79-year-old philanthropist also committed $25-million to the South Dakota Community Foundation for Build Dakota scholarships. The scholarships support students who attend the state’s four technical schools—Lake Area Technical Institute, Mitchell Technical Institute, Southeast Technical Institute, and Western Dakota Technical Institute—and work to earn degrees in fields of high worker demand in South Dakota. The state will match Mr. Sanford’s gift, and a state board will decide which fields of study qualify.

Mr. Sanford gave several small donations as well. They include $500,000 to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and $10,000 each to Fresh Start Surgical Gifts and Ronald McDonald House Charities–San Diego.

Send an e-mail to Maria Di Mento.