Founded in 1948 as the Minneapolis War Memorial Blood Bank, in 2023 the organization now known as Memorial Blood Centers celebrates its 75th year of saving lives through blood donation.

A history of civil service

After the events of World War II proved just how important donated blood is to saving lives, the War Memorial Blood Bank began welcoming blood clubs and Twin Cities residents through its doors. Among its first donors was then Minneapolis Mayor and future US Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey!

As the years have passed, donated blood has remained crucial to community safety. Memorial Blood Centers has seen several major changes in 75 years, including moving from downtown Minneapolis to a building a few miles away on Park Avenue in 1956 and moving to its current location on Pelham Boulevard in St. Paul in 2006. MBC has expanded and grown, merging with Duluth’s  Arrowhead  Blood Center in 1992, the Nebraska Community Blood Bank in 2012 and becoming part of the New York Blood Center Enterprise in 2020. From collecting just over 8,000 units of blood in 1948 to collecting over 130,000 last year, MBC serves over 40 hospitals in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin with life-saving blood.

Meeting the biomedical needs of the community

Since moving to  its current home on Pelham Boulevard, MBC has established state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to provide infectious disease testing and life-saving transfusion consultation to hospital partners and other health care organizations. In the 17 years since then, MBC’s donor testing abilities have evolved, grown, and become even more crucial to ensuring the safety of the local blood supply. From adding testing for the Zika virus in 2016, to testing donors for phenotypical markers, to ensuring precise matches for high-frequency transfusion patients, to testing for COVID-19 antibodies in 2021, MBC remains agile to meet the changing needs of the local and national biomedical community.

Celebrating our accomplishments

We’ll celebrate reaching our 75th year of saving lives through blood donation throughout 2023. Stay connected via email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to hear about exciting opportunities to celebrate our diamond anniversary with us!