$28M donation to be used for education programs

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – A South Dakota businessman and philanthropist has donated $28 million to the National University System, a nonprofit that focuses on education and philanthropy initiatives.

The donation made by T. Denny Sanford is the largest in the history of the nonprofit, which supports students looking for alternative ways to learn. It will be used to help further three programs Sanford helped create that are expected to reach more than 500,000 students nationwide.

One program, Sanford Harmony, helps students learn to work together and respect one another. It's currently in 126 schools in South Dakota.

Sanford Inspire, which aims to help teachers inspire students, now offers 60 video training modules. The third program, the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, provides education and training programs for nonprofits and has a nationwide affiliate of networks.

The University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Augustana University in Sioux Falls are involved with the programs.

"Helping others is what this is all about," Sanford said in a news release. "And it's why I'm so pleased to recognize the remarkable impacts these three programs are having nationwide."

Sanford's donation brings the total funding for the programs to about $70 million through anonymous donors and matching funds from National University and the university system's chancellor Michael Cunningham.

Sanford is best known for donating about $1 billion to the Dakotas-based health system that carries his name.

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