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Foundation changes name in honor of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi

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In recognition of the extraordinary philanthropic support of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, the Wishard Memorial Foundation will change its name to Eskenazi Health Foundation. The new name will take effect Oct. 1.

“We are grateful to the Eskenazis for their one-of-a-kind gift and for their influential leadership in giving to Wishard,” said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of the Wishard Foundation. “We are pleased to take this first step in recognizing this remarkable Indianapolis couple by changing our name to reflect their compassion and generosity.”

The renaming decision came in a unanimous vote by the foundation’s board of directors on Sept. 13.

Earlier this year, Wishard announced a $40 million gift from Sidney and Lois Eskenazi to help build new hospital facilities. The contribution is one of the greatest philanthropic gifts ever to the people of Central Indiana, and one of the largest gifts ever made to a public hospital in the United States. When it opens in December 2013, the new hospital will be the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital. The name of the health system will change to Eskenazi Health in 2014.

“People from all walks of life across our community have shared how they have been touched by the kindness and vision of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi and their commitment to the people of Indianapolis,” said Dr. Lisa E. Harris, CEO and medical director at Wishard. “The Eskenazis continue to express genuine excitement and gratitude for having the opportunity to leave such an extraordinary legacy, and we are proud to honor that legacy through the renaming of our foundation.”

The capital campaign for the new hospital has raised more than $64 million. Philanthropy has been an important component of the plan to construct new facilities for Wishard without a tax increase since the plan’s inception.

“The exceptional and unprecedented gift from Sidney and Lois Eskenazi preserves and launches Wishard’s future,” said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and CEO of Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County. “It is fitting that our foundation bears their name as we continue to make great progress on the path to Eskenazi Health.”

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi live in the Indianapolis area. Sidney Eskenazi grew up in Indianapolis, attending Manual High School before graduating from Shortridge High School, and both he and Lois Eskenazi are Indiana University graduates. Sidney Eskenazi established a successful real estate development company, Sandor Development Co., in 1963 and has built it into one of the nation’s leaders, with more than 70 properties under management in 23 states. Sidney Eskenazi continues to manage operations, along with his son, David Eskenazi, at the Indianapolis office of Sandor, which Sidney Eskenazi named after his daughters, Sandy and Dori.

Wishard is one of America’s largest safety-net health care systems, with nearly 1.4 million outpatient visits last year, and is among the highest-quality, lowest-cost health care systems in the United States, reinforced by the Dartmouth Atlas. Philanthropic contributions enhance Wishard’s ability to provide excellent quality care.

The Wishard Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness that support health care initiatives benefiting residents of Marion County with special emphasis on its poor and vulnerable populations. The foundation was established in 1985 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


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