$100 million gift to expand Mayo Clinic’s proton beam therapy services in Minnesota

Published 7:27 pm Monday, October 10, 2022

The Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation of Bayport, Minnesota, has made a $100 million multi-year commitment to support the expansion of Mayo Clinic’s proton beam facility in Rochester that will nearly double appointment access for patients in need. In recognition of this gift, Mayo Clinic will name this new facility the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Building.   

“This gift marks a significant milestone in Mayo Clinic’s decades-long relationship with Fred and Katherine Andersen and the foundation that executes on their vision for healthy, strong communities,” said Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., Mayo Clinic’s president and CEO. “The Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation’s generosity will bring proton beam therapy to more patients who need it and will help Mayo Clinic advance Category of One cancer care.”  

Mayo Clinic’s Proton Beam Therapy Program uses pencil beam scanning to deliver precise radiotherapy to cancerous tumors while minimizing radiation of surrounding healthy tissue. This highly targeted therapy is ideal for people with tumors close to, or in, vital organs and for young people whose organs are still developing.  

Extensive research has proven the benefits of proton beam therapy for patients with certain types of cancer. Mayo Clinic researchers have been involved in more than 300 papers published on proton therapy, and research is ongoing.   

“The Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation is honored to partner with Mayo Clinic on a new facility that will expand patient access to unique cancer treatments,” said Peter Clements, president of the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation. “This gift amplifies the quiet, yet significant philanthropy the Andersens and the foundation have provided to Mayo Clinic over many years and exemplifies the Andersens’ ‘All Together’ spirit by matching the foundation’s resources with Mayo’s innovative medical care to improve the lives of individuals and communities.” 

Mayo Clinic first began offering proton beam therapy in 2015, when construction of the Jacobson Building in Rochester was completed. Since then, the program has routinely approached its appointment capacity of 1,200 patients per year. Mayo Clinic anticipates treating 900 additional patients per year at the expanded Rochester facility to meet the site’s estimated demand of 2,000 patients who will need proton beam therapy each year by 2025. Mayo Clinic is the only center offering proton beam therapy in Minnesota and surrounding states. The nearest centers are in Illinois and Missouri. 

“People with cancer deserve access to the most innovative, individualized therapies from a cancer center they trust,” says Cheryl Willman, M.D., executive director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Programs and director of Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. “With this generous support from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, Mayo Clinic will become a category of one for delivery of the most advanced radiation therapies and novel combination therapies for the patients we serve.” 

Fred and Katherine Andersen — both deceased — were longtime Mayo Clinic benefactors through their personal philanthropy and charitable foundation. Fred was the president and chairman of Andersen Corp., America’s largest manufacturer of windows and patio doors, from 1914 until he retired in 1972. He served the company for more than 75 years. Katherine also devoted much of her time to the company, serving on the board of directors for 50 years. In 1959, the couple created the Andersen Foundation, now called the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation. 

For more than 60 years, the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation has carried on the couple’s tradition of philanthropy, supporting medical facilities and research, affordable housing and care for the elderly, opportunities for young people, and a wide variety of local needs. 

The Andersen Building will be in downtown Rochester on the east side of the Eisenberg Building. It will be connected to the Jacobson Building. 

The expansion will include two floors below ground — a lobby level and a first level — and be constructed to allow for future expansion. Building construction is scheduled to begin in 2023, with a goal to begin treating patients in 2026. Existing proton beam therapy services will continue to be available during construction.