Aug. 13 2019 07:21 PM

The money will go to a Minnesota foundation that supports eating disorders treatment.

A Minnesota medical foundation is $18.7 million richer thanks to Ken Melrose, former CEO and chairman of The Toro Company, according to a report in Twin Cities Business. The generous donation will go toward enhancing care for individuals with eating disorders.

The gift’s recipient, The Park Nicollet Foundation, will use it to expand space and operations at the main campus and satellite locations of HealthPartner’s Melrose Center, a nonprofit eating disorder center. The center was named for Melrose when he helped establish it 10 years ago with another large monetary gift.

The new donation is the largest individual gift in HealthPartners history. It will also be used to establish a sub-fund, which the Park Nicollet Foundation will call the Kendrick B. Melrose Leadership and Excellence Endowment Fund in honor of the donor.

In a statement reprinted in the story, HealthPartners president and CEO Andrea Walsh says “Our entire organization is grateful for Ken and his generosity. His support and this legacy gift will improve health and healing for our patients today and in the future.”

According to a HealthPartners press release the story cited, the Melrose Center has served 3,300 patients across five locations in Minnesota so far. The number of patients seeking treatment at the center has increased by 24% since 2015.

Elizabeth Warner, Park Nicollet Foundation’s executive director, is quoted in the story as saying “This significant gift will accelerate the growth of the Melrose Center so that even more people and families in our community can receive eating disorder care.”

The donation is another example of Melrose’s mission to serve others. After more than two decades with The Toro Company, he formed Leading by Serving, a company dedicated to advancing the principles of servant leadership in business. He’s also the author of the book “Making the Grass Greener on Your Side, A CEO’s Journey to Leading by Serving.”

Melrose has served on the boards of directors for Park Nicollet Health Services and HealthPartners, which merged to become one entity in 2012. In 2005, he was named to Twin Cities Business’ Hall of Fame.

In the story, Melrose is quoted as saying he hopes his latest gift to Park Nicollet will help raise awareness of the need for eating disorder treatment programs and hopes it will encourage others to get involved.