From an editorial in the Pioneer Press in Minneapolis/St. Paul:
Generous people make a difference every day, all around our region.
We recognize their commitment, in particular this week, with word of a new name in Twin Cities health care: the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
The change recognizes a gift of $25 million from the Minnesota Masonic Charities and a legacy of support -- spanning the last 60 years -- that now exceeds $125 million. The gifts make the Masons its largest donor, according to the university.
The new gift will support pediatric research and care delivery at the hospital on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Last year, it cared for children from 80 of Minnesota's 87 counties.
Giving from the Masons includes $75 million for cancer research and care since 2008, and additional gifts that began back in 1955.
With support from the Masons, the University built the 80-bed Masonic Memorial Hospital, dedicated in 1958, and the Masonic Cancer Research Building in the mid-'90s. The Masonic Cancer Center, so named after a 2008 pledge, continues to have a profound impact, a joint statement from the university and Minnesota Masonic Charities said, and the Masonic Cancer Clinic, currently under construction, will provide compassionate care until a cure is in hand.
"The Masonic Fraternity is passionate about helping Minnesotans lead longer and healthier lives," Eric Neetenbeek, Minnesota Masonic Charities president and CEO, said in a statement.
"By supporting the children's hospital, we hope to facilitate new treatments and cures that will benefit patients and families across the state and around the world."
Minnesota Masonic Charities, the nonprofit charitable organization of Minnesota Masonry, is one of the largest grantmakers in the state. "Our commitment may be drawn from tradition, but our drive comes from today's most pressing issues," the organization's website says, noting its focus in five areas: education, cancer research, elder services, community outreach and the preservation of Masonic history.
A Pioneer Press report noted another major gift so far in the history of the children's hospital, which opened in 2008 and in 2009 was named the Amplatz Children's Hospital after a $50 million donation by the daughter of Dr. Kurt Amplatz, a former radiology professor at the university who invented a cardiac device that closes abnormal holes in children's hearts.
In March, Caroline Amplatz allowed university officials to remove her father's name from the hospital, which is affiliated with the U of M Medical School, the report said. She opted to relinquish naming rights to open the opportunity for another donor, according to a university spokeswoman.
With this week's announcement -- and its legacy of philanthropy -- Minnesota Masonic Charities allows the university to "develop leading academic medicine programs that change the lives of families throughout the state and nation, and around the world," wrote U of M President Eric Kaler.
The power of such philanthropy and generosity is remarkable, he said. "It confirms the deep affection and trust so many Minnesotans have for the university. That this gift will deliver invaluable benefits to children, our most vulnerable patients, especially delights and touches me."
Such good-for-kids giving is good for all of us, and it makes Minnesota a better place.