Why Is the King of Subprime Credit Cards Pouring Money into Ghana?

T. Denny Sanford made his fortune in a rather questionable way, but he's a fun philanthropist to watch. His giving is bold, empathetic, and urgent, and reminds us of that movie where Richard Pryor has to spend $30 million in thirty days. 

Sanford once said, “I want to die broke.” He is a Giving Pledge signatory and has no plans to leave an endowed foundation after he dies.  He simply wants to give away all of his money while he’s still living, saying, “I like to think I have enough years to spend all of this money.” And spend he does.

A few years back, Sanford made it on the elite rolls of Forbes' Richest People in America, with an estimated net worth of just under $3 billion. Then he started on his task of dying penniless, giving away around $1 billion, focusing, for the most part, on healthcare. In 2007, Denny Sanford donated $400 million to Sioux City Health, which would change its name to Sanford Health. The medical facility’s namesake would donate an additional $100 million a few years later.

In 2011, Sanford Health announced its plans to develop a 10-clinic network in Ghana. A year later, five Sanford World Clinics opened their doors and ground was recently broken on the sixth. Now Denny Sanford wants to go far beyond the initial 10-clinic commitment and has pledged $30 million over ten years to build more than 300 health clinics in the West African nation.

According to Sanford World Clinic, Denny Sanford chose the democratic nation of Ghana due, in part, to its political and economic stability. The bigger factor in his decision may be the fact that although Ghana has a national healthcare system, a large number of people fail to enroll because the health care facilities are too far away. This is especially true for those living in rural areas.

The Sanford World Clinic network, which includes smaller micro-clinics and "hubs," are mainly located in population-dense areas. Sanford’s $30 million for 300 clinics will widen the net considerably and make health care more accessible for Ghana’s rural population.

The Sanford World Health Clinics will be located in each of the ten regions in Ghana. Each major clinic will oversee around 30 satellite clinics and will be linked as a tele-health network. The clinics are expected to break even in two years and serve over 4.5 million patients by the year 2020.

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