$25M Gift From Schreiber Family Addresses Health Inequities For Youngest Kids
Schreiber Family Center for Early Childhood Health and Wellness established with $25M gift from Kathleen and John Schreiber
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago today announced a $25 million gift from local philanthropists Kathleen and John Schreiber to establish the Schreiber Family Center for Early Childhood Health and Wellness, which will focus on the most important years of development—birth to age five. As part of Lurie Children’s Patrick. M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities, the hospital’s hub for all community-focused initiatives, the Schreiber Family Center will bring together the hospital’s experts with community partners to ensure children thrive where they live, learn and play. The gift announcement was made at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, a community partner and collaborator with Lurie Children’s on early childhood programs.
“Lurie Children’s mission has always been to improve the health and well-being of youth,” said Thomas Shanley, MD, Lurie Children’s President & CEO. “Over the decades, our understanding of how to approach our work has evolved. Providing high-quality medical care and cutting-edge research is essential, but it is not enough to meet the critical needs of our youth. We need to focus on the upstream factors that lead to health and racial inequities our children and communities experience. The Schreiber family’s visionary gift will support us in this work.”
The Schreiber Family Center’s efforts begin before birth by supporting programs that connect expectant parents to home visiting programs, doulas and care coordination. It includes initiatives that help ensure new parents have access to quality healthcare, social services, and the tools to keep their babies safe at home, in cars, and while they are sleeping. Other programs focus on building children’s resiliency and social-emotional well-being, and on enhanced training for the early childhood workforce. Though many programs will benefit children throughout the Chicago area and beyond, the Schreiber Family Center will include a special focus on Chicago’s West Side. All programs will be rooted in community partnership and evaluation to develop an evidence-based foundation, enabling best practices to be shared across the country.
In addition to programming, the investment includes funding to significantly expand evidence-based, community-responsive programs, and to support collaborative research to uncover new ways to support newborns and very young children impacted by disinvestment and inequities. The gift includes funds for immediate use and also for endowment, so that programs can be maintained in the future.
“The early years set the stage for a child’s future learning, behavior and health,” said Mariana Glusman, MD, the new Associate Medical Director for the Schreiber Family Center. “We have known for decades that adverse childhood experiences, including racial and social inequities, not only negatively impact children’s development and interfere with brain growth, they are also associated with poorer adult health, such as increased cardiovascular disease and decreased immunity. The good news is that recent studies show that positive childhood experiences, and safe, stable, and nurturing relationships can mitigate these effects. That means that everyone whose work affects young families, including educators, doctors, and policy makers can help improve children’s long-term outcomes, by supporting and empowering parents and caregivers. As part of the Schreiber Family Center, we will engage with all our partners to do just that.”
“Kathy and I wanted to do what we could to help address some of the barriers to health and wellness for Chicago’s children,” said John Schreiber. “While our investment has established this focused effort on birth to age 5, we hope others who share our belief in the importance of the early childhood years will join us in supporting this effort.”
About Lurie Children’s
In the 2022-2023 U.S.News & World Report rankings of the best children’s hospitals, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago continues to be the top pediatric hospital in Illinois. Lurie Children’s provides superior pediatric care in a state-of-the-art hospital that offers the latest benefits and innovations in medical technology, family-friendly design and research through the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.
About Carole Robertson Center for Learning
Since 1976, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning has been dedicated to educating, enriching, and empowering children and families through comprehensive child and family development programs. As one of Chicago’s largest early childhood education and youth development organizations, the Carole Robertson Center serves diverse populations across 27 communities. Our programs reach more than 2,500 children at every stage of development, from prenatal to age 17. Since its inception, the Center has worked to honor the life and memory of Carole Robertson who, together with her friends Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair, was killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.