Helmsley Passes $300 Million Milestone for Rural Healthcare

Sioux Falls, SD—Eight years after its beginning, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program has surpassed a $300 million milestone in grants to improve rural healthcare across a seven-state region.

Based in Sioux Falls, Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program made its first grant in 2010. The program supports innovative technology such as ePharmacy and eEmergency telemedicine, CT scanners, CPR devices, and treatment simulators, as well as initiatives for medically underserved areas in Montana, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

"As a region, we face a serious challenge in meeting the healthcare needs of our people," said Walter Panzirer, Helmsley Trustee and rural South Dakota resident. "Much of the seven-state area we fund in is sparsely populated. It’s hard to have the same access to medical services that people in populated areas take for granted. The Helmsley Charitable Trust seeks to bridge that gap.”

For instance, Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program wants to make sure every woman in the region lives within 60 miles of a facility that provides digital mammography. After 68 grants to equip 79 sites, that goal is close to being achieved. 

Another initiative seeks to increase the number of doctors who practice in rural America. Noting that 70 percent of medical professionals settle where they train, Helmsley supports the Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency program in Montana. This month, the first group of doctors will graduate from the residency program, a majority of whom have chosen to practice in rural states.  

The Rural Healthcare Program is one of Helmsley’s worldwide initiatives that focus on improving lives by supporting exceptional efforts in health and select place-based initiatives.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $1.8 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $320 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.