Denny Sanford donates $20 million for pediatric research

South Dakota philanthropist Denny Sanford will donate $20 million for the creation of the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center. The gift will serve as the foundation for collaboration between Sanford Health of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research headquartered in La Jolla, California.

This collaboration will combine world-class scientific talent with state-of-the art technology to conquer childhood diseases. To achieve this goal, the donation will create the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research to be located in La Jolla, California. Likewise, Sanford Health will develop a Sanford Children’s Health Research Center facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The collaboration between the two locations will establish the basis of an integrated, world class, academic pediatric research network.

“I have the utmost confidence that this collaboration will promote solutions to some of the most troubling health issues that affect children,” said Denny Sanford. “Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to encourage efforts and activities that I know will help children enjoy the gift of good health.”

“Partnering with my generous friend Denny Sanford and the Sanford Health organization brings significant added strength and stature to the Burnham Institute here in San Diego, to our rapidly growing Lake Nona-Orlando research facility, and to our new Burnham-Santa Barbara research program. We welcome them with open arms,” said Malin Burnham, Chairman of Burnham’s Board of Trustees.

As part of the collaboration, Burnham will recruit a world-class research scientist to serve as Scientific Director for the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center in La Jolla, and Burnham will advise Sanford in recruiting talented research scientists to work at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. In addition, Burnham will dedicate nine senior scientists (faculty) to be supported by approximately 40 scientists and related staff in approximately 25,000 square feet of research and support space in La Jolla. The Sioux Falls location will have at least three senior scientists and up to 20 additional scientists and staff. Burnham and Sanford Health will form an oversight committee made up of members from both organizations in order to direct collaborative efforts between both locations.

“The opportunity to collaborate with Sanford Health expands our ability to combine Burnham’s world-class laboratory research with a powerful clinical partner dedicated to advancing medicine,” said Burnham’s President and CEO, John C. Reed, MD, PhD. “Denny Sanford’s gift and his commitment to improving child health will enable us to consolidate and expand our present pediatric medical research activities and to make more rapid progress towards solving the unmet medical needs of children. We are honored for the opportunity to work with Mr. Sanford and the Sanford Health organization towards this noble goal.”

“Once again, we thank Mr. Sanford for his generosity and vision,” said Sanford Health Executive Vice President Dave Link. “The collaboration with Burnham will have far-reaching, positive and long-term health impacts on children. Collaborative efforts like this one are crucial to achieving our initiatives as well as our overall research success.”

Mr. Sanford is chairman of United National Corporation, First PREMIER Bank and Premier BANKCARD, Inc. headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has a longtime, special interest in supporting organizations and groups that focus on the health care needs of children.

Burnham Institute for Medical Research

Burnham Institute for Medical Research conducts world-class collaborative research dedicated to finding cures for human disease, improving quality of life, and thus creating a legacy for its employees, donors, and community. The Institute is headquartered in La Jolla, CA where it was established as a nonprofit, public benefit corporation in 1976 and is now home to three major centers: a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center; the Del E. Webb Center for Neurosciences, Aging and Stem Cell Research; and the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center.  In 2006, Burnham established a center for bionanotechnology research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Burnham is currently establishing a campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida that will focus on diabetes and obesity research and will expand the Institute’s drug discovery capabilities. Today, Burnham employs more than 800 people and ranks consistently among the world’s top 20 organizations for its research impact and among the top four research institutes nationally for NIH grant funding.  For additional information about Burnham and to learn about ways to support its research, visit

Sanford Health

Sanford Health’s comprehensive, integrated system includes more than 360 physicians in 115 clinics, 23 hospitals, 13 nursing homes, 17 assisted living facilities and congregate living locations, 27 home health services and 19 pharmacies. With approximately 12,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in the region. Its primary 500-bed nonprofit tertiary care hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, serves an average of more than 30,000 inpatients annually. With more than a million outpatient visits each year, Sanford Health has served the 80,000 square mile, four-state region of South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska for over 110 years. Sanford Health is the largest healthcare system between Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and Denver, CO. Its divisions include Sanford USD Medical Center, Sanford Clinic, Sanford Health Network, Sanford Health Plan and Sanford Health Foundation. For more information about Sanford Health, visit

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