“We want to help in the effort to find a cure for nerve deafness, but until that day comes, we need to have the kind of surgical interventions that Dr. Gantz does so well.” -John Dane

Having access to some of the best auditory care in the U.S. has helped John and Allie Dane’s children live vibrant and normal lives. With four of their five children having genetic auditory nerve problems—including Donna Dane who was born profoundly deaf—the Dane family turned to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for medical support.

Three of John and Allie Dane’s children—Donna Dane, Margaret Dane Ehler (1976 Cer.), and Helen Dane, D.V.M.—successfully received cochlear implants, which provide sound to individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss, from Bruce Gantz, M.D., head of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. With nearly three out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. born with detectable levels of hearing loss, the Dane family has been devoted to furthering auditory research and striving to find a cure for nerve deafness.

“I vowed that my family would make a significant contribution,” said John Dane. “The regeneration of auditory nerves, to me, would be an amazing breakthrough. I get so emotional when I think about it.” To help advance auditory research, the Dane family gifted farmland to the UI and created the John Dane Family Cochlear Impact Fund. More recently, the Dane Family Professorship in Auditory Science was created with the same idea in mind, but through a unique funding mechanism—gifting $50,000 of grain each year to the UI.

“The gift of grain works particularly well for our family because there are many members—both young and old—and everyone has a little different tax consequence because of having income,” said H.J. (Jack) Dane (1982 J.D.). “When the donation is made with grain through our limited partnership, everyone can take part without incurring income tax or needing to itemize a charitable contribution.”

Donating grain to the UI is a relatively simple process, requiring an elevator issued warehouse receipt in the name of the State University of Iowa Foundation. Once the donor relinquishes all control of the grain, the UI Foundation, on behalf of the UI, directs the sale of grain and receives the proceeds. For the Danes, the family will donate $50,000 of grain each year until the professorship is fully funded. As a symbolic gesture, the Dane family delivered one bushel of soybeans to President Sally Mason’s home.

“We want to help in the effort to find a cure for nerve deafness, but until that day comes, we need to have the kind of surgical interventions that Dr. Gantz does so well,” said John Dane. “We want to see more people have access and opportunities to world-class surgeons, and we’re hoping our professorship is something that will attract and retain the kind of talent the University of Iowa needs for continued leadership in auditory science.”