SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Denny Sanford will receive the 2018 Pontifical Key Philanthropy Award by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture and the Cura Foundation.

Sanford’s “historic generosity, vision and determination to address some of the world’s most urgent health care challenges make him uniquely deserving of this prestigious award,” a statement from Sanford Health said. Delegates from Vatican City traveled to Sioux Falls to give the award and celebrate Sanford’s extraordinary philanthropy and transformative impact as part of the Unite To Cure Movement.

“Mr. Sanford's generosity and commitment is a sign of profound empathy and commitment towards those in need,” said Monsignor Tomasz Trafny, head of Science and Faith Department of the Pontifical Council for Culture of the Vatican. “In that sense with his contributions he fulfills Pope Francis' idea that for all our limitations, gestures of generosity, solidarity and care cannot but well up within us, since we were made for love."

Sanford is also a Giving Pledge signatory who plans to give away his fortune in his lifetime. Sanford Health is one of the largest integrated health care systems in the nation, operating 44 medical centers and nearly 300 clinics in nine states and nine countries.