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Park Nicollet Foundation receives $18.7 million gift for eating disorder care

Donation will support innovation at Melrose Center


June 11, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS – Ken Melrose, whose donation helped establish Melrose Center 10 years ago, is making a transformational gift to further expand eating disorder care.

This generous donation will be used for two main purposes:

  • Establish the Kendrick B. Melrose Leadership and Excellence Endowment Fund. This honors Ken’s generosity and dedication to servant leadership and his compassion which has helped thousands of people in our community heal and recover at Melrose Center.
  • Support expansion and growth projects at Melrose Center’s main campus and satellite locations.

Melrose Center is a nonprofit eating disorder center that is known for its innovative and comprehensive treatment. Eating disorders are often underdiagnosed and undertreated and have one of the highest death rates of any mental illness. Experts estimate that only 1 in 10 patients with an eating disorder receives treatment.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to provide this gift,” said Ken Melrose. “It brings me great joy to be part of an effort that is helping so many people and families. My hope is that this gift raises awareness about the importance of eating disorder programs and inspires other people to get involved too.”

Last year, Melrose Center served 3,300 patients across five locations in St. Louis Park, Maple Grove, St. Paul, Burnsville and Woodbury. Since 2015, there has been a 24 percent increase in patients seeking treatment at Melrose Center, which is part of the HealthPartners family of care.

“Our entire organization is grateful for Ken and his generosity,” said HealthPartners President and CEO Andrea Walsh. “His support and this legacy gift will improve health and healing for our patients today and in the future.”

Melrose is the former CEO and chairman of the Toro Co. He retired as CEO in 2005 and as chairman in 2006. That same year he formed Leading by Serving, a company whose mission is to advance the principles of servant leadership in business organizations. He is author of the book: Making the Grass Greener on Your Side, A CEO’s Journey to Leading by Serving. He served on the boards of directors for Park Nicollet Health Services and HealthPartners.

“Ken has inspired so many people to support Melrose Center, Park Nicollet Foundation and the nonprofit community, said Elizabeth Warner, Park Nicollet Foundation Executive Director. “He is an amazing philanthropist and one of the most joyful givers I know. We are honored and grateful for his partnership over the years. This significant gift will accelerate the growth of Melrose Center so that even more people and families in our community can receive eating disorder care.”

In addition to making the lead gift that established Melrose Center, his continued generosity over the years to Park Nicollet Foundation has supported a variety of projects. These include support for eating disorder research and evaluation projects, expansion of Melrose Center satellite locations in new communities, and special needs and gratitude programs for veterans in hospice.

The donation by Ken Melrose is the largest individual gift in HealthPartners history.

About HealthPartners and Park Nicollet Foundation

HealthPartners is a consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. The Park Nicollet Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Park Nicollet Health Services with a mission to improve health and wellbeing for patients, families and communities through partnerships and philanthropy. For more information, visit

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