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Innovators

The Next Generation of Chicago Philanthropists

Lurie Children’s is a national leader in pediatric care and research, relentless in our drive to transform futures against often daunting odds. But progress doesn’t happen on its own. If you believe every child deserves a healthier future, share your strength and become an Innovator.

As an Innovator, you'll network with other outstanding philanthropists, get a behind-the-scenes view of our life changing research and programs and leave a lasting impact on our patients and families. The Innovators program offers the opportunity to have unparalleled access to medical center leaders and learn about programs in need of key philanthropic support. Members commit to the program with an annual investment that is collectively pooled to fund a project chosen by the group. At the end of the year, the group gathers to hear proposal pitches from physicians and researchers and then votes on one of three projects to fund.

This unique program designed to bridge the gap between emerging leaders and philanthropy is unmatched by anything in Chicago. Innovators has identified the next generation of Chicago’s emerging civic leaders.

Commit to Progress

  1. Commit a minimum $5,000 investment that will be pooled with other Innovators for a collaborative impact.
  2. Learn about the high priority needs at Lurie Children’s as you meet leading-edge clinicians and researchers who are shaping a healthier future for every child.
  3. Help us choose: Innovators convene to collectively select a project to fund.

Convene with Purpose

Four times a year, Innovators gather to be informed and empowered through conversations with caregivers, patients, physician-scientists and fellow philanthropists. Opportunities include:

  • Behind-the-scenes tours of Lurie Children's state-of-the-art facility. 
  • Ability to brainstorm with medical leaders on solutions to important issues.
  • Connections to other thought-leaders and philanthropists through networking and engagement opportunities.

See Our Impact

The urgency, and the potential, to defeat childhood cancer has never been greater. The generous support of Innovators has brought us closer to achieving this vision. Read about the impact 2018 Innovators had on Precision Medicine Oncology.

2018 Impact Report

The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health at Lurie Children's is one of only a few comprehensive fetal centers in the country, leading the way in the research and care of pregnant women with fetal complications. Read about how the 2019 Innovators support enabled Dr. Amir Alhajjat to leverage his in utero stem cell research to study the fetal and maternal immune system response to COVID-19.

2019 Impact Report

Join Now

Are you interested in becoming a Lurie Children's Innovator? 

Register Now

Download Our Overview and Expectations

To learn how your company can sponsor an Innovator, review our corporate sponsorship guide.

Download the Corporate Sponsorship Document

Innovators Virtual Approach: How the Program Continued to Make an Impact in 2020

While the program faced the challenge of not being able to gather in person in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Innovators remained committed to learning about the work being done within the Division of Child Abuse Pediatrics.

In April the group gathered virtually to meet leaders within the Division of Child Abuse Pediatrics and learn more about the work of the team to identify and treat children that are victims of abuse and neglect.

In September, the Child Abuse Pediatrics team expanded upon the overview they shared with the team in the spring, highlighting their work to train professionals, parents and the community about the advocacy, identification and treatment of child abuse. We also had a brave family share their personal story to illuminate the important work of the Child Abuse Pediatrics team.

Finally, the group gathered virtually in November to determine which Child Abuse Pediatrics project they would collectively fund. The group heard three "Shark Tank" style pitches from members of the Child Abuse Pediatrics team, and voted to fund Dr. Mary Clyde Pierce's research in the epigenetics of physical abuse. Additionally, Innovators participated in a unique virtual dining experience with a curated menu from Chef Lee Wolen, Executive Chef and Partner, Boka Restaurant. Chef Lee was a special guest at the virtual event, and offered a Q&A for Innovators.

View Event Photos

November 2019: Selection Dinner

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November 2018: Selection Dinner

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Contact Us

Innovators Member Directory

Click here to view the Innovators Communication Directory (secured link for Innovators only).

Skender Foundation Partnership



We are grateful for Skender Foundation’s long-standing support of Lurie Children’s and their investment to sponsor the Innovators program through 2021. Since the launch of the Innovators program, Skender Foundation has generously underwritten all of the program’s expenses, enabling 100% of Innovators’ investments to be directed to the medical center project selected by the group each year.