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Philanthropist and Entrepreneur, T. Denny Sanford, to Speak at Philanthropy Symposium Hosted by the John F. Kennedy University Sanford Institute of Philanthropy and the Tesoro Foundation

November 10, 2016

Renowned philanthropist, Mr. Sanford, is the inspiration behind the creation of the JFK University Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, which serves San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits; The annual symposium, sponsored by Tesoro, is offered at no cost to the nonprofit community

Pleasant Hill, Calif. — The John F. Kennedy University Sanford Institute of Philanthropy and the Tesoro Foundation are pleased to announce philanthropist and entrepreneur, T. Denny Sanford, will be a keynote speaker at a Nov. 15 symposium – Building Outrageously Successful Nonprofit Organizations – that is co-hosted by the University and sponsored by the Tesoro Foundation. Mr. Sanford is considered to be one of the world’s most generous philanthropists, and he has donated more than 1 billion dollars to causes he supports nationwide ranging from education to nonprofits.

Mr. Sanford is the namesake of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at JFK University, launched earlier this year as part of a national network of Institutes that are based on Mr. Sanford’s vision and approach toward helping nonprofits improve fundraising and donor relations through seminars and educational programs. Each Institute offers curricula developed by the founding Institute, San Diego-based National University, and presentations by recognized community nonprofit leaders, members of academia and philanthropic leaders.

The day-long symposium, which is being offered at no cost, is being held at the Concord Hilton and is designed to support nonprofit executives, board members and management staff. It includes presentations by Rudolph A. Johnson III, President and CEO of Neighborhood House Association in San Diego and recipient of the KPBS Black History Month Local Hero Award, as well as nationally-recognized expert and author Heather Carpenter, Ph.D. To register:

“We are pleased to have such a distinguished group of speakers and nonprofit leaders join us for this very special symposium that highlights the great work being done by our region’s nonprofits, and we are very thankful for Tesoro’s support,” said Debra Bean, president of JFK University. “We are particularly honored to welcome Mr. Sanford, a world-renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist and the namesake of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy network, to share his insight and inspiration with our San Francisco area community.”

Strengthening fundraising and donor relations are top concerns among local nonprofits, according to results from a recent survey in the East Bay by the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at JFK University, and the symposium will explore these themes and others related to the nonprofit community. The annual event is the largest to date, according to Patty Deutsche, director of Northern California Government and Public Affairs for Tesoro: “Tesoro gives more than $1 million each year to local nonprofits but we can’t help them all. Knowing that these organizations are the backbone to a healthy society, funding this symposium is one more way Tesoro can assist in building and strengthening our community.”

Two years ago, Mr. Sanford teamed up with National University, a private nonprofit university in California that, like JFK University, is part of the National University System, to develop educational programs that emphasize a cause selling approach that strengthens donor relationships. The cause selling approach, as envisioned by Mr. Sanford, applies business and sales principles that position nonprofits with making the right ask for causes that are important to them. This approach has been detailed in a one-of-its kind textbook, Cause Selling: The Sanford Way.

“The JFK University Sanford Institute of Philanthropy supports nonprofits in our region by helping them develop essential fundraising and leadership skills that will result in a greater community impact, while achieving organizational growth and sustainability,” said Solomon Belette, director of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at JFK University. “We are honored to provide access to high-quality training, functioning as a hub for information and technical resources, and strengthening collaborative efforts to build a strong and robust nonprofit community.”

Affiliated Sanford Institutes of Philanthropy have been launched at Augustana University serving the South Dakota region, and Bellevue University serving the Nebraska and western Iowa region. Each Institute, including JFK University, offers educational programs based on the tenets of the cause selling approach and being responsive to the unique needs and challenges facing nonprofits in each distinct community. At JFK University, that has included, in addition to sponsoring the symposium, offering a series of four seminars, four networking sessions, and ten webinars.

About John F. Kennedy University
For over 50 years, John F. Kennedy University, a nonprofit affiliate of the National University System, has offered undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs that prepare individuals for career success, while also engaging the student in personal growth through a commitment to service. Today, the University’s three Colleges provide innovative higher-education opportunities to 1, 200 professionals who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to advance their education and improve their future. The Continuing Education division provides professional development education to more than 2,500 individuals per year. A pioneer of education that integrates theory and practice, John F. Kennedy University and its students touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities every year through their support of outreach centers and public programs. For more information, visit

About Tesoro Foundation
The Tesoro Foundation is a separate, 501(c)(3), philanthropic affiliate of Tesoro Companies, Inc.  Tesoro and the Tesoro Foundation are committed to collaborating with our stakeholders to create cleaner, safer, well-educated communities where we operate.  We create Shared Value for us and our communities by ensuring our charitable investments serve the communities’ needs, harness our employees’ passions and interests, and align with our business goals.  We strategically focus our community investments in three core areas where we can make a positive, measurable impact: STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math), public safety, and environmental conservation and sustainability. For more information, visit