An architect's rendering shows the playground that will be built in honor of Sanderson Farms by the Gayle & Tom Benson Charitable Foundation.

JACKSON - A playground at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s seven-story pediatric expansion will be a reminder of the generosity of two organizations: The Gayle & Tom Benson Charitable Foundation and Sanderson Farms.

Last week, UMMC announced a $1 million donation from the foundation to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, the philanthropic effort to bring the children’s hospital expansion to completion. The gift will also create the Gayle & Tom Benson Charitable Foundation Playground in honor of Sanderson Farms.

Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, said joining Children’s of Mississippi in the organization’s goal of helping all of the state’s children reach their full potential was a choice she was happy to make, noting the tremendous support from her team's fans in Mississippi.

Benson chose to honor Sanderson Farms in the naming of the playground because of the dedication of its CEO and board chairman Joe Sanderson Jr. 

In 2016, Sanderson and his wife, Kathy, launched the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi with a $10 million personal gift. The Campaign, which they chair, has raised more than 75 percent of its $100 million goal.

The $180 million expansion is within budget and on schedule to open in fall 2020.

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