Wilfs’ $5M donation builds hospital addition

The Wilf family donated $5 million that spurred a family center at the U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital. It will provide ways to educate and entertain young patients.

The commitment the Vikings have made to the local community is visible in several areas. From charitable foundations to fundraising events, the Vikings have prided themselves on their philanthropy. They showed Wednesday that goes all the way to the top of the organization.

The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital unveiled the Wilf Family Center, designed to be “the intellectual center of children’s health care in the Midwest” The center is named in honor of the Wilf Family Foundation, which made a $5 million donation in December 2013 to build the center and support its initial operation.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Minnesota has become an adopted home for his family and that providing the donation for the children’s hospital was part of that feeling of community in the Upper Midwest.

“Over the past 10 years, Minnesota has become a second home for our family,” Wilf said. “We care deeply about the people in Minneapolis-St. Paul and have enjoyed a meaningful relationship with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. This gift was an opportunity to show our appreciation for the community in a way that will have a lasting impact.”

Mark Wilf echoed his brother’s sentiments, saying that their ties to Minnesota are binding and lasting and that they look to be a continuing partner in the quality of life in their second home.

“Supporting education and health-related causes has been important to our family for several generations,” Wilf said. “This gift is a wonderful fusion of our commitment to supporting children’s health and the chance to see the knowledge and discoveries here shared far beyond the hospital’s front doors.”

Last December marked the 50th anniversary of the Wilf Family Foundation, which has donated more than $200 million to causes including education, health, human rights, the arts, athletics and Holocaust remembrance.

The Wilf Family Center includes an auditorium, a pair of conference rooms and a telehealth room that allows communication between patients and medical staff and the technological ability to transmit medical imaging and health informatics data from one site to another. The center is equipped with cutting edge conference capabilities for knowledge sharing among medical professionals and is intended to play host to local, national and international researchers and innovators in the healthcare profession.

The auditorium is designed to accommodate patient needs and medical equipment so the hospitalized children and their families can enjoy movies, performances and opportunities to meet local sports celebrities. Children who are unable to leave their rooms for events can still take part through an in-hospital broadcasting system that was part of the project design.

The Wilf Family Center Auditorium incudes a 203-seat theater with a 24-by-7 foot video wall, wheelchair accessibility and removable seats to provide room for 20 or more patients in wheelchairs, the capability to serve IV poles, oxygen tanks and video conferencing capability to allow the audience as well as a presenter cameras for recording the conferences.

With the new Vikings stadium reaching more milestones in its construction, it’s clear that the Wilf family is going to be part of the Twin Cities scene for years to come and the donation to the U of M is a welcome addition in the fight to prevent and eradicate childhood illnesses while making the hospital stay for the young victims of childhood diseases as pleasant as possible under the circumstances.


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