Local venture capitalist named 2014 Nice Guy of the Year after donating more than a billion dollars

Sanford donated $200 million for local research

SAN DIEGO - He has donated more than a billion dollars from his fortune and on Wednesday, he was recognized as a really Nice Guy.

Self-made billionaire Denny Sanford was named the 2014 Nice Guy of the Year by the Nice Guys, a nonprofit San Diego group that looks to improve the lives of the disadvantaged.

"Denny wants to help people who are disadvantaged," said Douglas Moore, this year's Nice Guy Committee Chairman.

Sanford added, "Empower people at a very difficult moment in their life."

The 78-year-old has donated more than a billion dollars of his own fortune to medical research, disadvantaged children and to military veterans who needed help getting back on track.

On Wednesday, Sanford's name was added as the 2014 "Nice Guy of the Year" to a giant statue with the names of other prominent San Diegans like Ernest Rady, John Moores, John Lynch and Gene Luth.

Adding Sanford's name was easy. He donated more than $200 million for research in San Diego.

"It's not a matter of the amount," said Sanford at the ceremony at Tom Ham's Lighthouse on Harbor Island. "It’s a matter of finding those the most in need and where you can do the most good."

His next investment will go to the classroom where he hopes to teach San Diego teachers how to inspire their students.

"I think maybe 20, 25 percent of teachers, it comes natural. The others?  It has to be taught," he said. "It's called the Sanford Inspire Program."

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