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All Lives Have Equal Value

Most of us would like to think of ourselves as humanitarians. This season we have many opportunities to benefit mankind and our communities, with donations from the largest international foundations to local not-for-profit organizations; without the generosity of thousands of Chicagoans, many lives would be severely affected.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have a quote on their website that reads, “All Lives Have Equal Value.” The Foundation has an endowment of  $33.5 billion. Warren Buffet has also donated millions of shares to the foundation. His on-going gift has made it possible for the foundation to keep giving a total of 5 percent per year in gifts. The foundation has focused on several initiatives around the world, including microfinancing for poor women in Latin America. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded the eradication of polio and has given a challenge grant of $355 million to the Rotary Foundation to support their mission.
The Rotary Foundation (847-866-3000) has been instrumental in combatting polio around the world. The Evanston-based Rotary Foundation also seeks to provide safe water and sanitation, reduce infant and maternal mortality, and increase adult literacy.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is our nation’s largest private supporter of academic biomedical research. Their mission is to “unlock the secrets of life.” They spend a minimum of 3.5 percent of their $16.1 billion endowment every year in medical research. In 2011, they disbursed $905 million, mostly by supporting investigators in teaching hospitals and universities. They have more than 300 investigators who support biomedical research. The not-for-profit was started by pilot, entrepreneur and eccentric filmmaker, Howard Hughes, who turned his aircraft company into a foundation. He probably never could have imagined how important his decision would be to the future of science.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust are slated to unveil eLife by the end of this year. The online open-access journal for advances in life science and biomedicine will provide readers with the latest on biomedical research.
In Chicago, we have medical institutions that are making a difference in the lives of Chicagoans and those who travel here to receive the best in medical care. Donating to our hospitals is noble. Scientific research in Chicago benefits people all over the world and our institutions provide the expertise to make scientific discoveries and treat people with life-threatening illnesses.
The University of Chicago’s Institute for Translational Medicine works with other scientific institutions to boost research and advance medicine. They are devoted to finding the next generations of treatments and preventions for cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. If you want to give to The University of Chicago Medicine, you can write a check (773-702-6565), volunteer (773-702-4421) or give blood (773-702-6247).
Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Inc., is a not-for-profit facility that supports cutting edge research at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Seema Singhal, MD is conducting research into DNA methylation in multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.. To send donations to support this important research, call 312-695-6855 or write (s-singhal@northwestern.edu). Your support this season may lead to a cure for this and other cancers. This is an opportunity to change the course of one of our most devastating illnesses.
The Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital (LurieChildrens. org), formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital, is a pediatric specialty facility. They are dedicated to the health and
well-being of all children. The researchers from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine work together to train the next generation of pediatric specialists as well as conduct research to cure children with life-threatening illnesses.
The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is cited by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America. (312-238-1000). We are fortunate to have this facility in our city.
This is the time of year when most of us count our blessings. Now, patients who are dealing with the most terrible stress imaginable will no longer lose their homes and savings due to their or their child’s grave illness. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Americans with life-threatening diseases will be insured and treated, regardless of their financial situations. Finally, our country will join other “civilized” countries in providing comprehensive health care to its citizens.
One of the charities nearly all of us can afford to support is the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago (redcross.org). Donations of blood can not only help cancer and trauma patients here in the Chicago area, our contributions can save lives when there are national emergencies such as the devastating storm on the East Coast last month.
This time of year it is the right time to look at the schools that are molding the lives of our most precious resources, the children who will discover tomorrow’s new inventions and big ideas. Give your time and donations to the schools you think are doing an excellent job of educating our children and those schools which are in great need. Our community has many inspirational opportunities for giving this season. We have listed many of them in this issue. Turn to page 32 for our Annual Philanthropy Guide.
One of my favorite charities is Heifer International (www.heifer. org, (800-422-0755). For a donation of $150 you can give the gift of a llama to a family in Latin America. A llama can provide transportation, income from wool which is woven into ponchos, carpets and rope, lifting a family out of poverty. For $20 you can donate a flock of Christmas chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year and help hungry families eat, share and/or sell.
Have a great holiday season.

Published: December 02, 2012
Issue: 2012 Philanthropy Issue


Pam Burns from John Kurtz
Hi Pam, I am going to be in a big show at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art opening April 5 with two other Chicago artists, a great show for me. Would love, if there was time, for you to do some coverage for us.The curator, Stanos Grezdo is in charge, stano@uima-chicago.org . Would love to have something in your magazine. Hope all is well with you, it's been a long time.I'm at jakurtz1@aol.com Thank you much !!! J A K
John A. Kurtz, Feb-11-2013