Skip to content

Information and Resources

Denny Sanford Biography

Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

He’s been called both the world’s oldest teenager and one of the most generous philanthropists in the country. T. Denny Sanford, who started working at age 8, achieved enough personal and financial success in business to land him on the Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans for several years. Now 75, for the past six years he’s been focusing that energy and work ethic to a different cause: health.

Sanford’s $400 million gift in 2007 to what is now called Sanford Health was the largest gift given to an American health care system (Sanford Health is a sponsor of WebMD). In addition to making Sanford the largest nonprofit health care system in the country, Sanford has his eye on a number of health issues that affect children.

One of those initiatives is The Sanford Project. Its goal is to find a cure for type 1 diabetes in Sanford’s lifetime. "You see these kids who have 15 pokes a day with a needle and the pain that they go through," Sanford says, "and you can identify with it. Diabetes is unfortunately one of those situations that we don't recognize because the people otherwise act normal. But that's only if they get the proper care and take the proper medications."

Sanford is also working with WebMD on a joint project to teach children about food and fitness, called Fit Kids. The site is aimed at children in three age groups and will help kids and teens learn about food, fitness, mood, and recharging. “Kids could have a very positive effect on their entire family,” says Sanford.  “So that’s really what WebMD and Sanford Health can put together.”

Sanford’s interest in health was in part motivated by his family. At age 4, he lost his mother to breast cancer, and when he was 21, his father died of heart disease. "I think health is an area where you can make the biggest difference, and that's what I'm trying to do," he says.

Sanford Health is now building a network of Sanford Children's Clinics around the world in communities lacking pediatric care. Sanford is also excited about the idea of helping to cure type 2 diabetes, because it can be caused by environmental conditions (poor diet and not enough exercise) and so can be cured by environmental conditions (more exercise and better nutrition). "It is so much more easily cured," he says. "We can take care of that in a heartbeat."

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
pregnancy test and calendar
Helping you get pregnant.
man rubbing painful knee
A visual guide.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
woman standing behind curtains
How it affects you.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
human lungs
Symptoms, causes, treatments.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
two male hands
Test your knowledge.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.