Philanthropist and civic leader Lester Crown of Chicago will be presented with the Children’s Trust Award for his extraordinary contributions to improving the lives of children and young adults through his leadership and family philanthropy. The Children’s Trust Award is presented by Lurie Children’s, formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital, to an individual whose dedication to and efforts on behalf of children have made a major impact on the nation and the world.
“While the reach of Lester Crown’s leadership and generosity is global, perhaps nowhere is it more evident than at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where he has served on our board since 1965,” said Patrick M. Magoon, President and CEO of Lurie Children’s. “His dedication and vision have helped make this hospital one of the premier pediatric medical centers in the country.”
Crown played a key role in the hospital’s efforts to plan a new, state-of-the art children’s hospital in downtown Chicago. Lurie Children’s opened the facility in June 2012, replacing Children’s Memorial Hospital, which was located in Lincoln Park for more than 130 years.
“When faced with a herculean effort to raise funds for the new hospital we called upon Mr. Crown to serve as one of the honorary chairs of our Heroes for Life campaign,” said Magoon. “Mr. Crown galvanized the support of the Board and of the business community, and with his unrelenting resolve helped us raise $675 million in campaign contributions.”
Crown’s civic commitment has inspired subsequent generations of the Crown family. Named for the family, the Crown Sky Garden – a 5,000 square foot healing garden on the hospital’s 11th floor that serves as a respite for patients, families and staff – benefited greatly from the vision and leadership of daughter-in-law Paula Crown, who is a senior director on the boards of the hospital and foundation. The Crown family has also endowed the Crown Family Professorship in Pediatrics and the Crown Family Research Scholar in Developmental Biology at Lurie Children’s. The Crown family is a past recipient of the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for their sustained record of philanthropic giving.
A native Chicagoan, Mr. Crown is chairman of Henry Crown and Company; chairman of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; past chairman of The Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago and chairman of the Executive Committee of Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is a Life Trustee of Northwestern University. He serves as director of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Jerusalem Foundation and the Weizmann Institute of Science and is a member of the international board of Governors of Tel Aviv University. He is a Life Trustee of The Aspen Institute, a member of the Board of Overseers of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Crown will receive his award in Chicago on May 15 at The Chicago Theatre during the hospital’s celebration of the close of the Heroes for Life campaign, the most ambitious and successful fundraising initiative in the hospital’s history and one of the nation’s largest on behalf of children’s health.
The Children’s Trust Award, established in 1988, is an exclusive award that is bestowed upon those individuals whose work is of such magnitude that millions of young people have benefitted. Past recipients include former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and children’s TV legend Fred Rogers.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital, is a 23-story, state-of-the-art hospital located in downtown Chicago on the campus of its academic partner, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report 2013-14 Honor Roll rankings. Lurie Children’s provides pediatric care in a setting that offers the latest benefits and innovations in medical technology, research and family-friendly design. The hospital relies on philanthropic support to care for more than 149,000 children each year.