Honorary Celebrity Chair
Meet our Honorary Celebrity Chairman for the 2022 Goombay Bash!
Philanthropist Ann Lurie was born and raised in Florida and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Florida. Before starting her family, she was a public health nurse in Florida and a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Currently, Ann is Manager, 2 NRP Managers, LLC, Lurie Holdings, Inc. and president and treasurer of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation. Following the death of her husband, Robert H. Lurie, in 1990, Ann devoted herself to raising their six children while distinguishing herself as a benefactor to a multitude of significant causes.
She is a Life Trustee of Northwestern University, and, in concert with her commitment to medical research and child-related medical issues, Ann endowed the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University where she continues to provide support and chairs the Friends of the Lurie Cancer Center. In 2010, she was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor, Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University. Also at Northwestern, she funded both the Diana, Princess of Wales Professorship in Cancer Research, a professorship in oncology at the Lurie Cancer Center as well as lead funding for the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University.
At Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, she endowed a chair in cancer cell biology and donated $1.3 million to fund the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS research. Ann pledged $100,000,000 to construct the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the home of the former Children’s Memorial, where she is a Distinguished Lifetime Director.
At the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Ann funded the construction of the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center and the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Tower. In an effort to promote synergy between engineering and medicine, she endowed a faculty chair at the College of Engineering and contributed the major funding for the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building and the Robert H. Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. With Chicago businessman Sam Zell, she established the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Business School; and in tribute to her mother, also a nurse, she endowed the Marion Elizabeth Blue Professorship in Children and Families in the School of Social Work, along with a matching challenge grant program to encourage the establishment of fellowships.
Ann serves on the National Honorary Committee of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, where she funds The Lurie Prize, an annual award that recognizes the outstanding achievements of a promising young biomedical researcher. She was among the earliest supporters of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and is the major supporter of Research America’s John Edward Porter Legacy Award.
Her gifts have enriched both the social services and the arts in Chicago. She is founder and former president of the Board of Directors of Gilda’s Club, Chicago. At Chicago’s Millennium Park, she endowed the Lurie Garden and provided cornerstone funding for the Joan and Irving J. Harris Dance Theater. Ann’s lead gift launched the Greater Chicago Food Depository Campaign. She funded the PAWS Lurie Family Spay/Neuter Clinic, the Lurie Family Classroom at the One Step at a Time Camp sponsored by Children’s Oncology Services of IL, Inc. and permanently endowed a Christmas party for needy children and low-income seniors at St. Vincent DePaul Center. She provided capital funding for a green roof at the Access Living Headquarters and sponsored Civic Orchestra of Chicago musicians.
For nearly twelve years beginning in 2001, Ms. Lurie founded, funded and personally administered AID Village Clinics, Inc., a comprehensive health care initiative which offered medical care and public health services, free of charge, to a population of approximately 100,000 semi-nomadic pastoralists, primarily Maasai, in rural southeastern Kenya. A staff of 160, including physicians and a full spectrum of health professionals and support staff, all Kenyan, cared for 3300 patients per month and 3750+ HIV/AIDS patients on life-saving antiretroviral therapy and treated infectious disease, traffic-related and animal attack injuries and other acute and chronic conditions. Medical and public health consultants from major US academic medical centers visited and conferred with AID Village Clinic staff on a regular basis, and, conversely, Clinic staff traveled to the US for training.
This Mbirikani Hospital operated from a 24-building fixed based campus that included exam rooms, lab, pharmacy, 48 bed in-patient unit, TB diagnostic and VCT counseling center, staff and visitor quarters, complete electronic medical records system and state-of the art x-ray and ultra sound equipment. Two mobile clinics operated from Airstream trailers outfitted with portable labs and exam rooms. Home services and visits were conducted by trained Community Health Workers, who traveled by motorcycle for education and prevention outreach activities and to see patients who were too ill or too remote to travel to Mbirikani Hospital.
As part of a 2007 CNN special “Where Have All the Parents Gone?”, correspondent Christiane Amanpour personally visited AID Village Clinics and reported, “Here in the heart of rural Africa in villages which have no electricity, no running water and no paved roads, someone has figured out how to win a battle in the war against AIDS. We have come all the way down to Kenya’s Maasai country to the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. We’re here to meet the people who have figured a way out of Africa’s medical catastrophe. What they are doing is amazing, in short, giving rural Africa 21st century health care. Ann Lurie has planned and paid for this clinic and the labs and all the high-tech medical clinics that the poor in Africa can only dream about.“
Ann’s commitment to global philanthropy included support of the UK charity, Riders for Health, which creates and sustains health care delivery systems in Africa. In cooperation with Save the Children and ONE Love Africa, she funded construction of 30 rural schools in Ethiopia. She supported and served on the boards of Ancient Egypt Research Associates, a US-based archaeological excavation on the Giza plateau; the Trust for African Rock Art; conservation, education, reforestation and health initiatives of the Big Life Foundation; an HIV/AIDS initiative on the Burma/Chinese border; and the WE-ACTx pediatric care program for HIV/AIDS patients in Rwanda. She provided transportation and funding for a Children’s Memorial Hospital team to perform corrective surgery on pediatric patients in Nepal with extra hepatic portal hypertension and supports the research and advocacy work of Human Rights Watch in the Horn of Africa. She also funded 3 medical missions to Mulago National Referral Hospital in Uganda to treat Kenyan children with severe heart disease, and, more recently, in the early days of the global pandemic, she supported the work of Dr. Robert Murphy at the Northwestern University Center for Global Communicable and Emerging Infectious Disease.
Ann has been honored with the Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Michigan, the Distinguished Philanthropist Award by the Chicago Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Jane Addams Making History Award from the Chicago History Museum and the Lifetime of Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League. In 2009, she received the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind, the Doctor of Public Service from the University of Florida and the Doctor of Humane Letters from the Erikson Institute. In March, 2010, she received Research America’s Award for Sustained National Leadership. In May, 2011, she was chosen by the Chicago Consular Corps to receive the Global Citizen Award.
In March, 2013, Ann received the Grant Goodrich Achievement Award, Northwestern University’s prestigious honor bestowed on an outstanding individual who greatly enhances the University through their professional accomplishments, commitment and service. In fall 2013, she was honored with the UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Award and in 2014, with the Civic Federation’s Lyman J. Gage Award for Outstanding Civic Contribution by an individual. In 2015, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2017, she was named one of the 25 Most Significant People in the History of StreetWise, a Chicago publication that benefits the homeless. In 2018, Ann was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award from the Chicago Council on Science and Technology. In 2021, Ann was honored with the Ann Lurie Professorship in Oncology by the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
She has been recognized as a leading U.S. philanthropist by Worth, Forbes, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Life, a supplement to the New York Times, Crain’s Business Chicago, Chicago Magazine, Town and Country, Business Week and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In 2012, Chicago Magazine ranked Ann among the top in their listing of “The Power 100” and also one of 5 “Chicagoans of the Year 2012.”
"When I was young, my mother encouraged me to ‘do a good deed daily.’ Following her advice felt good then, and, now, many years later, it still feels good. I think of philanthropy as my selfish pleasure. What could be more rewarding than having the opportunity to give hope where none formerly existed, to feed the hungry, to help provide the tools to train doctors and scientists and ultimately save lives?" Ann Lurie
"In the early years of the 21st century, we anticipate a remarkable expansion of medical knowledge followed by the enhanced ability to treat as well as prevent disease. Northwestern University can be a leading participant in these discoveries but only if we aggressively expand the research initiative through collaboration between private and public philanthropy under strong University and Medical School leadership." Ann Lurie - 2001
(Etching in foyer, Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Building, Chicago)