Mayo Clinic saw the value of noncash gifts jump last year — and the tally doesn’t even factor in the old Mayo rocking horse.

Among Minnesota nonprofits, Mayo routinely stands out for receiving millions of dollars’ worth of gifts each year that aren’t cash, but tangible items such as stock, real estate, artwork and collectibles.

The donations are detailed in IRS filings made public in November, and the most recent release shows noncash contributions to the clinic in 2017 were up 57 percent over the previous year, to $33.8 million.

The filing didn’t place a value on a number of historical artifacts that were donated in 2017, but the gifts include a rocking horse from descendants of one of its founders and other items that can be traced to the Rochester-based clinic’s founding family.

“The Mayo family heirlooms include a rocking horse that was created decades ago by the Mayo family’s handyman as a gift to the Mayo children,” the clinic said in a statement. “Additional items include a silver platter dated 1911 and engraved with Dr. Charles H. Mayo’s initials [and] detailed Mayo family genealogical information.”

Mayo Clinic is the largest nonprofit group in Minnesota, with hospitals and clinics in five states. While the clinic has raised billions in recent years via capital campaigns, the value of noncash contributions from donors is much smaller. A Star Tribune review of IRS filings shows a total of about $144 million in noncash gifts between 2011 and 2017.

The filing by Mayo for 2017 shows most of the noncash gift value came in the form of publicly traded securities. The clinic also received other types of investments, works of art and real estate, both commercial and residential.

Over the years, noncash gifts have included a Lincoln Town Car, a wheelchair-accessible van and the occasional historical artifact. In 2016, a donor gave a baseball that was signed by legend and former Mayo Clinic patient Lou Gehrig.

Mayo Clinic’s origins date to the 1880s, when doctors William and Charles Mayo joined the medical practice of their father, Dr. William Worrall Mayo. The clinic grew in tandem with a nearby hospital opened by the Sisters of St. Francis.

The history has been preserved in various ways around Rochester, including Mayowood Mansion, which was the former home of Dr. Charles Mayo. The rocking horse donated in 2017 was on display this year for the Christmas tour at Mayowood. Other artifacts given last year include a thumb drive containing 4,000 Mayo family photos and images from World War I in Europe belonging to Dr. Charles Mayo.

“The benefactors are descendants of Dr. Charles H. and Edith G. Mayo,” the clinic said in a statement. “The artifacts have traveled with family members on their moves to cities throughout the country over the years. These gifts were donated by the family so they could be cared for and displayed in order to share the Mayo Clinic and Mayo family story with patients, visitors and employees.”


Twitter: @chrissnowbeck