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Billionaire Sanford makes $55 million donation to Children's Home Society

SIOUX FALLS—The Children's Home Society of South Dakota announced Tuesday that it has received a $55 million donation from South Dakota philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. The donation is the largest one-time gift received by the Sioux Falls-based nonprofit which dates back to 1893.

"The services provided by Children's Home Society are invaluable," Sanford said in a news release about the announcement. "The organization cares for those who require the most care of all—our young people and those who are in serious danger."

The organization's mission is to protect, support and enhance the lives of children, women and families in South Dakota. The operating budget of Children's Home in 2017 was about $19 million and the organization raised nearly $5.1 million during a 12-month span between 2016 and 2017. Sanford, who is worth an estimated $2.6 billion according to Forbes, has donated to the facility previously in the last 20 years, Children's Home executive director Bill Colson said, adding that Sanford approached him about the donation.

The group provides residential treatment centers in both Sioux Falls and Rapid City for children who are victims of domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse. The organization also provides shelter space for victims, and provides nurse home visitation services for at-risk families during pregnancy and after delivery.

The donation will go toward helping the shelter expand its facilities, while the rest will go toward an endowment and bolstering the long-term retention and support of staff.