“I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.” Andrew Carnegie
“The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition… Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely… call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.” John F. Kennedy
San Diego, CA – Community before self: Three simple words that truly define philanthropy in the San Diego region and the individuals who have dedicated themselves to this principal. The kindness and generosity that donors have shown to our community have helped fund education, research, health and environmental causes and a wide range of nonprofit social service agencies. Every year The Nice Guys, an all-volunteer group made up of 140 local philanthropists and business leaders who raise money for needy San Diegans — $14.7 million since 1979 —honor a worthy individual who has made a difference for all San Diegans.
In 2013, Papa Doug Manchester, owner of U-T San Diego, was named Nice Guy of the Year for his 40 years of philanthropy that has totaled more than $40 million. In 2014, the honor went to an individual that Manchester himself introduced to San Diego, and with whom he shares a true passion for philanthropy: T. Denny Sanford.
Sanford, 78, is a retired banker and credit card company chief who has given away more than $1 billion to hospitals, clinics and medical research centers across the world. Sanford’s philanthropy in San Diego though has come more recently, thanks in part to Sanford’s friendship with Papa Doug Manchester.
“Papa Doug’s a dear friend,” said Sanford. “Most important to me, he embodies belief of “Community before Self,” and I’m especially honored to follow him as the next Nice Guy of the Year.”
Sanford added, “I am truly impressed by the motto of the Nice Guys, ‘Offering a hand up and not a handout.’ That’s consistent with my own philanthropic and business philosophy of providing people with an opportunity to get their lives on track. My goal is to donate 100 percent of my wealth during my lifetime to the medical, research and children’s programs I believe in.”
The award truly punctuates a lifetime dedicated to philanthropy for Sanford. In recent years, he has donated $30 million to San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, now known as the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine; several gifts totaling $70 million to the Burnham Institute of Medical Research, now the Sanford | Burnham Medical Research Institute; and $100 million to UC San Diego to found the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center.
Papa Doug stated, “The one thing people don’t know about Denny is that instead of waiting for people to ask him for contributions to help, he gets a tear in his eye and sees a particular need and creates a gift to fulfill that need.” He added, “Denny has already given away a billion dollars to other parts of the country, and he told me he wanted to die broke; so I introduced him to San Diego to help him do exactly that.”