30 Little Known Things About T. Denny Sanford You Probably Didn't Know


T. Denny Sanford, the founder and owner of First Premier Bank, is the chairman and chief executive officer of United National Corporation, the bank holding company. He, unlike several other billionaires, is a part of an increasingly popular trend "Sunset Philanthropy," through which he pledged to give away his entire fortune in his lifetime. Here are a few very interesting things to know about the South Dakota businessman:

  1.  He, for his contributions to various philanthropic causes, he has been listed as one of the top-50 most generous philanthropists in the world, by several magazines, for over a decade.
  2.  He is a very active philanthropist and claims that he wishes to die broke. He has pledged to give away his entire fortune during his lifetime, rather than giving it to any foundation that exists in perpetuity.
  3.  He gave away a $400 million gift to Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System, which was later renamed as the Sanford Health, on February 3, 2007.
  4.  He has reportedly given away nearly $1 billion to Sanford Health, generally geared toward improving the quality of life for children, over the past decade,
  5.  He was ranked at #3 on The Chronicle of Philanthropy "Philanthropy 50: Americans Who Gave the Most in 2007."
  6.  He announced his gift of $16 million for the Sanford Children's Hospital, which reportedly covered almost half of the $34 million price tag, in the year 2004.
  7.  The University of South Dakota School of Medicine was renamed after him as the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota. The William Sanford Welcome Center at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the T. Denny Sanford Pediatric Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, were also named after him.
  8.  In the year 2008, he gifted the Arizona State University's T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics to create the Sanford Harmony Program, in an effort to help children better understand the opposite gender to help create trust, respect and understanding among them before adolescence.
  9.  He made a $6 million donation to help fund the TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota's campus on May 21, 2009, following which the athletic hall of fame was named in his honor.
  10.  He is said to have helped with the creation of the Sanford Inspire Program at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, which redefined teacher preparation by integrating best practices of the teachers college and Teach For America, in the year 2010.
  11.  He donated $50 million to the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California in January 2010, after which it was renamed as the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.
  12.  In the year 2012, he is said to have given $20 million to a Sanford Center for Childhood Disease research at Burnham in La Jolla.
  13.  He reportedly gave a $30 million gift to the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in La Jolla, California in the year 2008, following which it was renamed as the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.
  14.  He has helped spearhead many children's education initiatives that include one for young boys and girls. He hopes that these initiatives will cut America's divorce rate by 50 percent in the next 50 years.
  15.  It was reported by Physics Today that he made a $70 million donation to a physics lab in the defunct Homestake Mine in South Dakota, which was later renamed as the Sanford Underground Research Facility in February 2013.
  16.  Thomas Denny Sanford was born on December 23, 1935 to Edith Sanford in Saint Paul, Minnesota, during the period of Great Depression. His mother died from breast cancer, when he was four years old, while his father died when he was 20 years old.
  17.  At the age of eight, he took up his first job in his father's garment shop. He went to study at the University of Minnesota, intending to become a doctor, but graduated with a degree in psychology in 1958.
  18.  He was arrested for drinking and fighting in his teenage years and was placed in a juvenile detention center. He was released after 36 days on the single condition that he should enroll in college.
  19.  He announced a $100 million gift to University of California, San Diego, for the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UCSD in November 2013, which is said to be the second-largest donation in the university's history.
  20.  In recognition of his contributions made in the field of education, the National University's School of Education was renamed the Sanford College of Education in December 2015.
  21.  He pledged $10 million to the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota in December 2013. This the second time he pledged a $10 million donation, as the first was made in the year 2007, along with a donation made by Huron couple, Paul and Donna Christen.
  22.  He donated $28 million to the National University System, specifically for initiatives based out of the Sanford Education Center in April 2017.
  23.  He made a donation of $100,000 to a group trying to defeat marijuana legalization in Arizona, in August 2016.
  24.  He started an endowment with the Horatio Alger Fund to the tune of $30 million in January 2018, which would provide college scholarships to students who have faced obstacles in their education.
  25.  Sanford is said to have donated over $30 million to remodel the San Diego Zoo Children's Zoo in January 2018.
  26.  He donated $125 million to Sanford Health to create the Imagenetics program in January 2014, which is said to conduct genetic research, using genetic information for precision medicine, and provides genetic counseling.
  27.  He gave $2 million in donations to the Children's Inn and Children's Home Society of South Dakota in April 1999, which is said to care for abused and neglected children till 2002.
  28.  He also donated $100,000 to the Sioux Empire United Way to help abused and neglected children in December 2001.
  29.  He was the owner of First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard, both of which are among the nation's leading credit card providers, issuing low-limit Mastercards and Visas to credit-impaired customers, while charging higher-than-average interest rates and fees.
  30.  He has been married twice and has two sons through his first marriage - Scott, a ship captain, and Bill, a physical therapist. He married his second wife Colleen Anderson, when he was 52 years old, in the year 1995. However, the relationship ended in divorce in 2005.
  31.  T. Denny Sanford Net Worth: $2.6 Billion

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