Philanthropist Ann Lurie was born in Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Florida. Before starting her family, she worked in public health and pediatric intensive care nursing in rural Florida and at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She resides in Chicago where she is president of Lurie Investments; president and treasurer of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation; and president of Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics, Inc., a US-based charity. 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 number of important causes.
She serves on the Board of Trustees 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 Advisory Board. Also at Northwestern, she funded both the Diana, Princess of Wales Professorship in Cancer Research and the Jesse, Sara, Andrew, Abigail, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Lurie Professor of Oncology at the Cancer Center and committed the lead funding for the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University. At Children’s Memorial Hospital, she endowed a chair in Cancer Cell Biology, donated $1.3 million to fund the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS research, and in 2007, pledged $100 Million to construct the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, scheduled for completion in 2012. In 2010, she was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor, Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University, and she serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
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 a 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’s 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. She endowed the Lurie Garden and provided cornerstone funding for the Joan and Irving J. Harris Dance Theater, both at Millennium Park. Ann’s lead gift launched the Greater Chicago Food Depository Campaign. She funded the Lurie Family Spay/Neuter Clinic, permanently endowed a Christmas party for needy children and low-income seniors at St. Vincent DePaul Center and financed the Infant Welfare Society lead poisoning prevention and triage nursing programs.
She founded and personally oversees the operation of AID Village Clinics, a communicable disease initiative, established in 2002, offering comprehensive medical care and public health services, all free of charge, to a population of approximately 100,000 semi-nomadic pastoralists, mostly Maasai in rural southeastern Kenya. A clinic staff of 150, including physicians and a variety of health professionals and support staff, all Kenyan, sees over 3300 patients per month and along with 3750+ HIV/AIDS patients on life-saving antiretroviral therapy, treats infectious diseases including malaria, amebosiasis, eye diseases, neonatal sepsis, skin and upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, TB, brucellosis, STDs as well as injuries from accidents and animal attacks and other acute and chronic conditions. Medical and public health consultants from major US academic medical centers visit and confer with AID Village Clinic staff on a regular basis. Conversely, Clinic staff travels to the US for training.
The Clinic operates from a 24-building fixed based compound that includes exam rooms, fully-equipped laboratory, pharmacy, 48 bed in-patient unit for seriously ill patients, TB diagnostic and VCT counseling center, staff and visitor quarters, cafeteria, storage facilities, complete electronic medical records system, state-of the art x-ray and ultra sound equipment. A mobile clinic operates from an Airstream trailer outfitted with a portable lab and exam room. Home services and visits are conducted by trained Community Health Workers who travel by motorcycle for education and prevention outreach activities and to see patients who are too ill or too remote to walk to the clinic.
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 includes supporting 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 supports and serves on the board 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 Maasailand Preservation Trust; an HIV/AIDS initiative on the Burma/Chinese border; and sponsors the WE-ACTx pediatric care program for HIV/AIDS patients in Rwanda. She provided transportation and support to a medical team from Children’s Memorial Hospital to Katmandu, Nepal, where the team performed corrective surgery on children with extra hepatic portal hypertension.
In recent years, she 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 spring, 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, the Doctor of Humane Letters from the Erikson Institute and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. In March, 2010, she received Research America’s Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership. In May, 2011, she was chosen by the Chicago Consular Corps to receive the Global Citizen Award.
She has been recognized as a leading U.S. philanthropist by Worth Magazine, Forbes, Chicago Sun Times, Satisfaction Magazine of the 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.