Billionaire banker Denny Sanford pledges $ 350 million to Sanford Health


An overview of remarkable gifts compiled by the The Chronicle:

Sanford Health

Billionaire banker Denny Sanford has pledged $ 350 million to the South Dakota health care system that bears his name. The money will support the creation of a virtual care hospital that will provide accessible care to patients who live in rural and underserved areas of the Midwest.

A long-time donor to many institutions in South Dakota and California, where it has homes, Sanford pledged $ 300 million to the health care system in March to expand its graduate medical residency program and expand the sports complex at health system. Including its latest donation, Sanford has pledged a total of nearly $ 1.5 billion to the health care provider.

Sanford is chairman of United National Corporation, a banking company in Sioux Falls, SD He appeared on the The Chronicle’s the annual Philanthropy 50 list of top donors 11 times since 2005.

Sanford was investigated last year by state and federal authorities for possible possession of child pornography on an electronic device he owned. He has not been charged with a crime and the investigation appears to be ongoing.

University of California at Berkeley

Herbert and Nicole Wertheim have pledged $ 50 million through their Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation to expand the School of Optometry’s training and research programs. The school will be renamed the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry and Vision Sciences.

Herbert Wertheim is an ophthalmologist in Coral Gables, Florida and founder of Brain Power, an eye care instrument maker. The company was the first to develop and manufacture a variety of filter, UV and therapeutic eyeglass shades that can help improve vision, prevent cataracts, and reduce retinal and corneal damage.

The couple have given a lot to nonprofits over the years and have appeared on the The Chronicle’s the annual Philanthropy 50 list of top donors in 2015, when they gave a total of $ 52 million to universities in Florida.

University of Pittsburgh

Christopher Bickell has donated $ 20 million to support the college’s football program. Of the total, $ 10 million will go towards training, nutrition and education efforts under the football program. The remainder of the donation will be used to fund these efforts.

Bickell founded Liberty IT Solutions, a technology company in Herndon, Virginia, which was acquired by Booz Allen in June for $ 725 million. He is currently CEO of WellHive, a Washington-based tech company that connects military veterans with healthcare. Bickell graduated from college in 1997 with a degree in communications.

Carnegie Mellon University

Frank Brunckhorst III has donated $ 10 million, half of which will be used to construct a science building, which will include a new home for the Neuroscience Institute at CMU; the remaining $ 5 million will support the institute.

Brunckhorst sits on the board of directors and is a past president of Boar’s Head Provisions, a Sarasota, Florida-based company that supplies cold cuts and cheeses to restaurants and grocery stores. The company was co-founded in Brooklyn by Brunckhorst’s grandfather in 1905. The young Brunckhorst graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1987 and sits on its board of directors.

Congregation Emanu-El of New York City

John Streicker donated $ 10 million to support new programs for young Jewish professionals, unaffiliated families with children of all ages making decisions about their religious identity, and others interested in learning more about Judaism .

Streicker is chairman of Sentinel, a New York real estate firm he joined in 1976. Earlier in his career, he held executive positions in investment firms and was a partner at the New York law firm. -Yorkis Root, Barrett, Cohen, Knapp. and Smith.

He is a long-time member of the Temple Emanu-El Board of Trustees and donated $ 15 million in 2016 to establish Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center.

University of West Florida

Dr Herman and Valerie Rolfs have left around $ 8.4 million, most of which will be used to establish a scholarship for students of the School of Music, with a preference for students in need as well as for members of the Argo Athletic Band. Part of the bequest will also support the music school’s ongoing plans to create a symphony orchestra, opera program, expanded concert series and graduate program.

Herman Rolfs was a pioneering nuclear radiologist who served as chief of radiology and nuclear medicine at White-Wilson Medical Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He passed away last year. Valerie Rolfs was a nurse and professor of nursing. She retired as an associate professor at Miami-Dade Community College and as a visiting professor for five nursing schools in Colombia, South America. She died in 2019.

The couple both received a scholarship when they went to college and wished to allow others access to higher education. In addition to their cash bequest, the Rolfs also left a Bösendorfer imperial piano at the music school. Imperial Bösendorfers are a type of concert grand piano that is popular in concert music circles.

American Journalism Project

Kathryn and James Murdoch donated $ 5 million through their Quadrivium Foundation to support the organization’s efforts to invest in local nonprofit news organizations and to support local journalism across the board. the country.

Kathryn Murdoch is a former marketing and communications manager who co-founded the clothing and accessories brand Thakoon. James Murdoch is a businessman who served as CEO of 21st Century Fox from 2015 to 2019, the company controlled by his father, Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire media mogul.

University of East Carolina

Tom Arthur has pledged $ 5 million to strengthen the College of Business graduate program and to support veteran students and military personnel enrolled in the program.

Arthur is a retired business executive and private investor. He spent most of his career with Havatampa Corporation, a cigar maker in Tampa, Florida, and was instrumental in the growth of the company. He was the majority shareholder until the sale of the company in 1997. A veteran of the US Army, Arthur served in the Vietnam War. He enrolled in the university’s business school upon his return from the war and obtained an MBA there in 1971.

To learn more about other big donations, check out our database of donations of $ 1 million or more, which is updated regularly.


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