Sidney and Lois Eskenazi have contributed 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. The Eskenazis have contributed $40 million for the new Wishard hospital facilities.
In recognition of this remarkable gift, the new hospital and the system name, currently Wishard Health Services, will be changed to honor the donors. As with past renaming of the hospital, the Board of Trustees of Health & Hospital Corporation will authorize the change.
"We are deeply moved by Wishard's broad and important mission, and its ability to have an impact on the lives of so many people throughout our community," said Sidney Eskenazi. Mr. Eskenazi and his wife, Lois, have a long history of philanthropic support in the Indianapolis community, including Eskenazi Hall at the Indiana University Herron School of Art and Design. "We are pleased to offer this gift for Wishard, for the people of Indianapolis and Central Indiana, and we are deeply touched by their decision to name the hospital and health system in our honor."
The New Wishard project will immediately become Eskenazi Health. 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. Wishard Memorial Hospital and Wishard Health Services will continue to operate and provide excellent quality care under the current names, including through Wishard’s 10 community health centers, until the new hospital opens and the move is fully complete in 2014.
"This extraordinary record gift from Sidney and Lois Eskenazi stands as one of the greatest contributions to Wishard and to public health in America," said Dr. James Miner, chairman of the board of trustees for Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, which operates Wishard.
"The Eskenazi gift is incredible news for 'the people's hospital,'" said Congressman André Carson. "Renaming Wishard in their honor is a fitting tribute to generosity that will result in even better medical care for the entire community."
"This is a significant moment in the progress of our City and for the people of Indianapolis and Marion County, and we all can be grateful and proud to be a part of a community that includes Sidney and Lois Eskenazi," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "This gift has such a profound impact on the people of Marion County, and we are pleased that Wishard will name the new hospital and health system in honor of this incredible family."
"This hospital and health system affect so many lives in such a positive way, especially those of our community’s most vulnerable populations, that we feel it has no equal and offers us the greatest opportunity to contribute to the entire community," said Lois Eskenazi. "In the process of learning everything we can about this institution, we have fallen in love with it and are tremendously excited to support its mission with this gift."
"In more than 150 years of caring for our community, Wishard has had several different names — from City Hospital to Indianapolis General to Marion County General to Wishard — but its mission has been unwavering," said State Representative Bill Crawford. "This generous gift of compassion from Sidney and Lois Eskenazi will make a tremendous difference for our community."
"People from across the community have supported this project, from the voters to individual philanthropic donors to the employees, who raised more than $1.6 million during the employee giving campaign, and now to Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, who are contributing a landmark gift for this health system and all the people in our community that it serves," said State Representative Gregory Porter. "We are incredibly grateful for all of the support for the people’s hospital, and especially today to Sidney and Lois Eskenazi."
Wishard is one of America's five 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. The gift will enhance Wishard's ability to provide excellent quality care.
"We are very grateful to receive this exceptionally generous gift for the future of Wishard and the patients we serve," said Dr. Lisa E. Harris, CEO and medical director at Wishard. "Sidney and Lois Eskenazi are humble and compassionate individuals, who share Wishard's spirit of community and commitment to improving the lives of others. Uniting the Eskenazi family with the Wishard family is a perfect match, and we are grateful to Sidney and Lois for making this possible."
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 Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital is on time and slightly under budget," said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and CEO of Health and Hospital Corporation. "Today we are pleased to celebrate the generosity, kindness and vision of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi for this legacy gift and their commitment to Indianapolis."
Wishard Foundation’s capital campaign for the new hospital has raised more than $54 million including the Eskenazi gift.
"We are very grateful to the Eskenazis for this one-of-a-kind gift that will contribute so greatly to advancing Wishard’s mission," said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of Wishard Foundation, which received the gift. "Not only will this contribution transform the landscape of health care in Central Indiana, it will also have a tremendous impact on philanthropy to public projects – including public hospitals – across the country."
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 Company, 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.
"We in Central Indiana are incredibly fortunate to count individuals such as Sidney and Lois Eskenazi as part of our community. On behalf of the capital campaign for the new hospital, I am very thankful for this gift," said John Thompson, co-chair of the capital campaign for the new hospital. "I'm pleased that our campaign has, with this amazing gift, now raised more than $54 million. I look forward to developing even more philanthropy for Wishard, its patients, staff and physicians, and for the community that supports it."
"This is a wonderful gift from Sidney and Lois Eskenazi that will positively affect the lives of Hoosiers, thousands in Central Indiana, as well as burn and trauma victims rushed to Wishard from across the state, and we are grateful," said Deborah Daniels, co-chair of the capital campaign for the new hospital.
"Likewise, this contribution, as part of the more than $54 million raised, should assure beyond a doubt that the new hospital project will be completed in a prudent and responsible manner, on time and on budget, and without requiring any additional taxes. It is indicative of the thoughtful and precise planning that went into this project, and we are seeing that plan carried out extremely well."
The project to construct a new Wishard is creating 4,400 jobs and will transform the landscape of health care in Indianapolis.
Marion County voters approved construction of replacement facilities for Wishard in the Nov. 3, 2009 election, with 85 percent support for the measure, and Wishard began work immediately.
Visit www.EskenaziHealth.org to learn more about the project, and visit www.WishardFoundation.org to learn more about the capital campaign and ongoing fundraising. For more information about Wishard Health Services, visit www.Wishard.edu.
Contact: Todd Harper
Phone: (317) 630-7808
Pager: (317) 310-5972