5 things to know about T. Denny Sanford, who's donated nearly $1B to Sanford Health

Leo Vartorella - Print  | 

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health recently unveiled the Sanford House, a $6 million building that will house the offices of the Sanford Health Foundation, and serve as  a tribute to T. Denny Sanford, the philanthropist for whom the health system is named, according to the Argus Leader.

Here are five things to know about Mr. Sanford:

1. Mr. Sanford is the founder of First Premier Bank, which has only 12 branches but is one of the largest issuers of Visa and Mastercards. The bank specializes in credit cards for high-risk borrowers, according to Forbes.

2. In 2007 Mr. Sanford donated $400 million to South Dakota Sioux Valley Hospitals & Health System, which renamed itself Sanford Health, according to ABC News. In total, he has donated nearly $1 billion to the system.

3. In June, Mr. Sanford donated $100 million to National University System, the latest in a series of gifts to the organization that seeks to implement curriculum emphasizing collaboration, communication and tolerance, according to Inside Philanthropy.

"I look at my philanthropy as an investment, and if you look at the things I invest in, virtually all are health-related,"  Mr. Sanford told Inside Philanthropy.

4. Mr. Sanford has given $1.6 billion to charity in his lifetime, and has pledged to give his entire $2.5 billion fortune to charity before he dies, according to Forbes.

5. Mr. Sanford earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota.

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