Founders' Board

The Founders' Board supports Lurie Children's mission of providing the most advanced and compassionate healthcare for children and their families.

The Board is made up of 101 active members and 64 associate members. They provide support through personal philanthropy and fundraising focused on major and campaign gifts, advocacy, hospital governance and volunteerism.

Leadership Legacy

In 1892, Children's Memorial Hospital founder Julia Foster Porter recruited a board of her close associates to serve as the first Board of Lady Managers, later known as the Woman's Board. In 2007, the Board officially changed its name to The Founders' Board to reflect its leadership legacy, For more than 125 years, members have played an integral role in the hospital's growth and in the establishment of its new home, Lurie Children's, in 2012.


The Founders' Board members are active in all hospital and Foundation Board of Directors' committees. 


The Board works closely with the hospital's Government and Community Relations team to help advance policy initiatives and actively communicate the hospital's position on children's healthcare issues.

Fundraising and Events

The Founders' Board is the hospital's most enduring philanthropic partner. In the last decade alone, the Board has provided critical funds totaling more than $20 million for a number of endowed chairs for Lurie Children's staff and faculty.

In March 2013, the Founders’ Board completed a five-year $10 million commitment to support the Department of Family Services and embarked on a few funding project. The Board has committed to raise $5.5 million over the next three years to support the recruitment of four physician scientist leaders. Their philanthropy will help attract the best and the brightest talent to Lurie Children’s divisions of Urology, Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant and Neonatology and our Research Center’s Department of Clinical and Translational Research. Additionally, $500,000 of this gift will be directed to Lurie Children’s violence prevention program, Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY). SCY can connect organizations throughout the city so they can prevent a child from being exposed to violence before the hospital has to treat the after-effects.

Recently completed commitments include $2 million to establish an endowed Professorship in Pediatric, Adolescent, and Maternal HIV Infection, and a $6.5 million pledge to the Division of Neonatology. The Founders' Board has also completed a $2 million commitment to the Division of Endocrinology in support of better treatments and potential cures for diabetes and other endocrine conditions affecting children.

Members raise funds through personal appeals and outreach, retail operations and annual fundraising events including:

  • The Pro Amateur Golf Championship, one of the oldest and most successful golf tournaments in the country
  • Winter Wishes
  • Children Celebrate Children, a holiday tree decorating event for local school children


In addition to providing hospital leadership and fundraising expertise, The Founders' Board members volunteer their time and talents to help ease the stress on patient families and to recognize the nursing staff. The president of the Founders' Board, currently Lauren Gorter, serves a three-year volunteer term and works from an office in the hospital on a daily basis.

To learn more about The Founders' Board, please contact us by e-mail or call 312.227.7500.

New Friends Reflect on 113 Years of Volunteer Service

Jean Bensdorf and Founders' Board member Peggy Carr have served our patients and families in a variety of roles for years, but only recently did they become good friends.

Read their story.