National University System, a private nonprofit system comprised of university and education-related affiliates, has announced a $28 million gift from South Dakota businessman T. Denny Sanford in support of its efforts to improve teacher education, pre-K-12 instruction, and nonprofit fundraising.
The largest gift in the 46-year-history of the system will support an expansion of three Sanford-backed initiatives — Sanford Harmony, Sanford Inspire, and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy. Developed at Arizona State University's T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Sanford Harmony is a pre-K-6 social-emotional learning program that promotes positive peer interactions and communication among boys and girls. Created in collaboration with ASU and Teach for America and incorporated into the teacher education curriculum at National University's Sanford College of Education, Sanford Inspire provides pre-K-12 teachers with video training modules dedicated to research-based teaching methodologies as well as tools for creating inspiring classroom environments.
Since it was established by Sanford at NU, the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy has developed a curriculum based on "cause selling," a fundraising approach blending the passion of philanthropy with an emphasis on proven business principles, to boost the impact of nonprofit organizations. To that end, NU will support an expansion of a network of affiliated institutes at universities around the country.
"Helping others is what this is all about, and it's why I'm so pleased to recognize the remarkable impacts these three programs are having nationwide," said Sanford. "What started out as a dream is now a reality, and to me the greatest gift of all is being able to see for myself how these programs are strengthening our communities and helping children succeed in school and life."