About 1,000 hospital employees gathered for the big announcement Saturday. Hospital CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft says Sioux Valley Hospital and Health System has transformed over its 114-year history.
It has had several names during that time, including Sioux Falls Lutheran, Sioux Falls General, Sioux Valley -- and now Sanford Health. The name change follows the $400 million gift from T. Denny Sanford.
The donation will help create five pediatric clinics around the country, and link the clinics with research being done at a new Sioux Falls children's hospital. Sanford Health will also select and fund one major research project that's yet to be decided.
Krabbenhoft says the money is there to put Sioux Falls on the map when it comes to health care.
“I was fortunate to pick the right investments. And I know investing in kids is absolutely the best thing I could do in terms of return on investment.”T. Denny Sanford
"Often times when we discuss the future, it's to try and be in league with the best in the industry -- the icons of health care from John Hopkins to Mayo and other like organizations. It takes the infrastructure -- the economic resources that are now afforded to us -- to bring the best talent. It's not that the talent costs us that much money, but the expectations that come with that, for facilities and technology," said Krabbenhoft.
The hospital system will receive $50 million a year over the next eight years. The money will go toward special projects. Krabbenhoft says it will be used as seed money to leverage as much as $1 billion by the time it's complete.
The announcement revealing a new name also featured a series of new commercials that aired for the first time locally during the Super Bowl. The ads described the nearly half a billion dollar donation as an opportunity.
"In fact, it's such an amazing gift that it has all of the potential in the world to touch all of you. Sanford Health -- improving the human condition," said the ad.
T. Denny Sanford was born in St. Paul. He owns First Premiere Bank and Premier Bankcard Inc., and has a long history of giving to South Dakota organizations.
Sanford has already contributed $20 million to Sioux Valley to expand its project with the University of South Dakota Medical School, and $16 million for the Sanford Children's Hospital which will be built over the next year and a half.
Sanford also gave $70 million to develop the underground science lab at the abandoned Homestake gold mine in Lead.
Sanford was listed in November's Business Week magazine as one of the top 50 most generous philanthropists. His estimated worth is $2.5 billion.
Sanford says he wants to die broke. He says he built his wealth on good decisions, and that's how he'll give his money away.
"I was fortunate to pick the right investments. And I know investing in kids is absolutely the best thing I could do in terms of return on investment, because we're going to help those kids through some very tough times in their lives and in the lives of our communities," Sanford said.
The Sanford Health System is the largest employer in the Sioux Falls region, with 12,000 employees in the network of clinics and hospitals that span four states.
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds says the gift by Sanford will have an economic impact of more than $1 billion over the next 10 years. He calls the donation a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity.