University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chair commits $100K for UIC’s frontline health care workers
University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Don Edwards and his wife, Anne Edwards, both alumni of the University of Illinois, have pledged $100,000 to establish the UI Health Employee Relief Fund, which will support health care workers at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, or UI Health.
UI Health, which is the clinical and academic health enterprise of the University of Illinois at Chicago, consists of more than 8,500 health care workers, many of whom are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly established fund will offer an opportunity for these individuals and their families to obtain financial support if they have been personally afflicted or have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. The Edwards’ donation is the largest single gift made by a University of Illinois governing board member in support of UI Health’s health care workers.
“Frontline health care workers are the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to honor their work, their courage and their sacrifices,” Don Edwards said. “Anne and I recognize the coronavirus is taking a unique toll on health care workers, and we hope this fund will ease some of their burdens. The U of I does so much more than many realize for the state and the people of Illinois, and our frontline health care workers are another inspiring example of our commitment to excellence.”
“We are grateful to Don and Anne for establishing the UI Health Employee Relief Fund,” said Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System. “UI Health is playing a critical role in battling this historic public health crisis, and this fund is a wonderful way to acknowledge and support the clinicians and staff who are on the front lines of this pandemic.”
UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said, “At UIC we are tremendously proud of the care UI Health provides to patients every day and now, during these trying circumstances, we stand even taller in our respect and esteem for the remarkable efforts of our doctors, nurses and the many other health care workers who are keeping our community safe and healthy. I want to extend my thanks to Don and Anne for their support of UIC and for the recognition from our board chair that our health care workers are shouldering a heavy burden.”
The UI Health Employee Relief Fund will be administered by the University of Illinois Foundation in partnership with UIC’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs. UI Health employees and their family members, if the employee is unable or has passed away, can request assistance via this fund.
“The support available through the UI Health Employee Relief Fund will make a significant difference in the lives of our dedicated frontline care providers who have shown tremendous resilience time and again as they provide outstanding care for our patients,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UIC. “On behalf of the entire UI Health team, I thank Don and Anne for their support.”
Don and Anne Edwards are residents of Chicago and are alumni of the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Don Edwards, who also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, is founder and chief executive officer of Flexpoint Ford, a private equity investment firm focused on health care and financial services. Prior to establishing Flexpoint Ford in 2005, he worked in private equity as a principal for GTCR, a leading Chicago-based firm, and served as an investment banker at Lazard Ltd. Edwards also serves as commissioner of the Chicago Park District, a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art, a director of Lurie Children’s Hospital, a director of World Business Chicago, and chairman of the finance and audit committees of the board of the PGA of America.
Anne Edwards, whose bachelor’s degree is in accountancy, went on to become a Certified Public Accountant. She serves on the women’s board of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Founders Board of Lurie Children’s Hospital, and also serves on the steering committee for the Gies “With Illinois” capital fundraising campaign.
Don and Anne Edwards are longtime donors to the University of Illinois System. In February, the couple pledged a major gift for the Illinois Innovation Network and Discovery Partners Institute, pioneering education and research initiatives led by the U of I System.
For more information on ways to support UI Health during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit uihealth.uic.edu.