To secure the future of Mayo Clinic in the years surrounding World War I, the Mayo brothers undertook a series of steps that transformed their private medical partnership into a not-for-profit organization with a salaried staff.
The culminating point came with the signing of a Deed of Gift on Oct. 8, 1919. Significantly, not only did Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie sign the deed, but so did their wives, Hattie Damon Mayo and Edith Graham Mayo. In every respect, this was a joint decision. The Deed of Gift transferred all assets of Mayo Clinic and the majority of the two families’ life savings into a not-for-profit organization. At the time, this gift was valued at more than $10 million; today, the Mayos’ gift would be worth more than $100 million.
This was an act without precedent in American medicine. It secured the future of Mayo Clinic in its mission of excellence in patient care, research and education, and inspired future generations of patients and staff to continue the tradition of generosity.
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