- By Dana Sparks
Helping Others Heal: 100 years since the Mayo Clinic Deed of Gift
On Oct. 8, 1919, Dr. William J. Mayo and his wife, Hattie, along with Dr. Charles H. Mayo and his wife, Edith, donated the majority of their life savings in addition to the land, buildings and equipment that made up the thriving medical institution.
Their documented decision, known as the Deed of Gift, was the cornerstone of a series of steps the brothers took that created an entirely new way to deliver care –– an integrated, multispecialty practice with salaried staff members and a mission of patient care integrated with education and research.
“What a masterful piece of forethought is represented by that agreement,” wrote Dr. Charlie’s son, Dr. Chuck Mayo, in 1968. “It means that I and my children don’t own the Clinic or any part of it, so as a principal victim I am in a good position to say how much I admire it.”
The Deed of Gift was far more than a legal document. It served as a statement of the Mayo family’s philosophy of giving back to society. The deed stated: “The success of the Clinic, past, present and future, must be measured largely by its contributions to the general good of humanity.”