Twin Cities Business: Former Medtronic CEO’s Nonprofit Donates $2.5M to Mind-Body-Soul Center at New Mpls YMCA

When she overcame her battle with cancer, Penny George, the wife of former Medtronic CEO Bill George, credited much of her recovery not just to the medical care she received, but to integrative health and healing (IHH) practices, such as yoga, acupuncture, aromatherapy and meditation.

Now, as a 22-year cancer survivor, Penny George and her husband’s Minneapolis-based nonprofit, the George Family Foundation, are looking to bring availability of the same mind-body-spirit practices she used to downtown Minneapolis.

Featured within the new YMCA in Gaviidae — set to open this month at Sixth Street on the Nicollet Mall — will be the George Wellbeing Center, a 35,000-square-foot space dedicated to evidence-based IHH practices.

YMCA members as well as nonmembers will have access to the center, located on the gym’s second floor. Among the amenities to available at the center will be lifestyle and nutritional counseling, massage therapy, aromatherapy, light therapy, meditation, tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, and even reiki, a form of alternative medicine developed in Japan involving “palm healing.”

“Since our first planning meeting in 2017, we’ve designed this groundbreaking center to help people take charge of their health through accessible, affordable tools and techniques,” said Penny George, a now-retired psychologist, in a statement. “This is an exciting new offering that will connect people with the integrative healing practices that can make a difference in their lives—and I know firsthand from my own health journey.”

The George Family Foundation will be providing $2.5 million to help cover the costs of the new center.

The donation is the latest in a string of IHH-related contributions from the nonprofit. Since 1994, the George Family Foundation has dedicated more than $17 million to programs promoting IHH.

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities’ CEO Glen Gunderson said in a statement the fitness company was “thrilled” to receive the foundation’s support, adding that it would “advance integrative health and healing practices” use in the community.

On top of the George Family Foundation’s donation to the YMCA, it announced dozens more contributions totaling upwards of $2.5 million to organizations in and outside of the Twin Cities area:

Bill and Penny George founded their philanthropic foundation in 1994, three years after Bill was named CEO of medical device maker Medtronic. His transformative work at the company, which was only a midsize heart device maker when he took over but is now the largest medtech corporation in the world, was most recently profiled last year, when Bill George was inducted into TCB’s Minnesota Business Hall of Fame.

This content was originally posted on on 1/11/18.