Denny Sanford of Payson has pledged $1 million to the Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides year-round retreat experiences to thousands of special needs children, their families and caregivers each year.
The $1 million matching gift to Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation will help fund a Lodge and Welcome Center at the Ranch, located east of Payson, Arizona.
"Mr. Sanford is changing lives in immeasurable, far-reaching ways by his goodness, compassion and generosity.
"His significant gift to Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation will make this magical, healing place even more wonderful for thousands of children in need," said founder, Diane Reid.
Children throughout the state of Arizona served by Whispering Hope Ranch face challenges such as abuse and neglect, AIDS, autism, brain injury, burns, cancer, cerebral palsy, craniofacial conditions, Down syndrome, dwarfism, homelessness, kidney disease, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, visual impairments and the loss of a loved one.
The Ranch is also a sanctuary for 100 animal residents who were born with physical differences or have come from difficult circumstances.
The animals of Whispering Hope Ranch provide a unique therapeutic experience for campers. These animals love unconditionally, giving comfort to each and every child, regardless of that individual's challenge.
Features of the lodge will include a dining hall to accommodate 200 campers for family-style and buffet-style service, commercial kitchen, restrooms, a stage for dramatic productions, a gathering room and meeting and activity space.
The Lodge and Welcome Center will be specially designed and built from the ground up to accommodate the needs of children with challenges.
Sanford, a St. Paul, Minn. native, who has residences in Payson, Scottsdale, Vail, Colo. and Sioux Falls, S.D., recently set a new standard in health care philanthropy with an unprecedented gift of $400 million to the Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System in South Dakota -- one of the largest donations ever made in United States by an individual to a health care institution.
Sanford established The Sanford Foundation for charitable giving in 2001 and has distinguished himself in the field of philanthropy by donating money to causes and organizations close to his heart, particularly those serving children who are sick or who have been neglected or abused. In 2006, Mr. Sanford was named to Business Week's list of 50 Most Generous Philanthropists.
The Sanford Foundation's matching grant is designed to help Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation achieve their goals by investing philanthropic dollars in the organization and leveraging new contributions.
Sanford will contribute $1 for every $1 the charity raises, up to $1 million, toward construction of the Lodge and Welcome Center.
To find out how you can help, contact executive director Mary Clark at (602) 266-2216 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Whispering Hope, visit www.whisperinghoperanch.org.