How Bill and Penny George became a power couple in Minnesota philanthropy

A man and woman by a window.
Bill and Penny George recently gave $8 million to YMCA of the North to hire health coaches and offer a range of holistic wellness services to the community.
Courtesy of George Family Foundation

Bill George is a former Medtronic CEO known for a leadership style that puts compassion above the bottom line.  

His wife Penny George is a breast cancer survivor who became an advocate for holistic healthcare for everyone.  

Together, they’ve been a powerful force for local philanthropy. Since 1994, the George Family Foundation has given away $75 million, mostly in the areas of health and wellbeing and leadership development.   

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with this Twin Cities power couple about the struggles and losses that shaped their values and how their values are shaping their philanthropy.   


  • Bill George is the former CEO of Medtronic and the author of several bestselling business books, including “True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership.” He’s a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches classes on leadership. He is also the co-chair of the George Family Foundation.  

  • Penny George is a retired psychologist, an advocate for holistic healthcare and co-chair of the George Family Foundation.  

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