Partners in a Shared Commitment for Healthcare Excellence

By Elizabeth Coon Martin

On June 23, 2022, NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) held its investiture event to recognize 12 physicians receiving the honor of an endowed chair. We asked Elizabeth Coon Martin, president of the Owen L. Coon Foundation, to reflect on her family foundation’s longstanding relationship with NorthShore and how it helps advance the health system’s mission of community-connected care.

The Owen L. Coon Foundation established the first endowed chair at Evanston Hospital in support of a clinical department with the Louise W. Coon Chair of Medicine in 1970. This marked the beginning of a long and rewarding partnership between the Foundation and NorthShore University HealthSystem. My grandfather believed it was important to support healthcare to help make the world a better place to live in. This is a core principle that our family foundation continues to work toward today.

As a foundation that celebrated 75 years of longevity in 2021, we value our relationship with NorthShore—a collaboration based on mutual respect and a shared aspiration to continue my grandfather’s vision for total healthcare.

NorthShore has been the beneficiary of three additional endowed chairs funded by the Coon Foundation—The Owen L. Coon Chair of Family Medicine, The Owen L. Coon Chair of Integrative Medicine and The Owen L. Coon Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery—establishing a perpetual legacy of our philanthropic partnership. Thanks to other generous donors and foundations, NorthShore currently has 39 endowed chairs, with at least one in each clinical department. This is an amazing accomplishment 52 years after the Coon Foundation established the first chair at Evanston Hospital.

I was honored to participate in NorthShore’s investiture celebration on June 23, where we recognized 12 physicians who had been selected to receive the honor of an endowed chair for their department. Those esteemed leaders had waited very patiently due to the COVID-19 pandemic—some as long as two years—to be recognized in person. At the event, we were able to celebrate their accomplishment in being appointed to an endowed chair while also honoring the private philanthropy partnerships that make it all possible.

Endowed chairs represent a vital resource to sustain teaching, research and patient care not only today, but for future generations. Each of NorthShore’s four Coon Chair holders have changed the field of medicine, improving patient care through their own leadership, research and mentorship.

The Owen L. Coon Foundation is proud to partner with NorthShore as they continue their important work to improve community health. As a philanthropic foundation, we do not take the decision-making process lightly on which organizations to support. We believe NorthShore is top-notch in its commitment to community-connected care and to advancements in medical care delivery. As a health system, NorthShore has proven themselves time and time again by following through on their commitment to improve community health and to ensure healthcare access for all in the region.

Endowed chairs enable physicians who are the best and brightest in their fields to take NorthShore to the next level of healthcare excellence. For that, we are proud to see our family name associated with NorthShore—and we look forward to many more years ahead as partners in making the world a better place through healthcare innovation, improved patient outcomes and personalized medical advancements.

Masthead Photo, left to right: Dr. Wanda Cruz-Knight (The Owen L. Coon Chair of Family Medicine), Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple (The Owen L. Coon Chair of Integrative Medicine) and Dr. John Erwin (The Louise W. Coon Chair of Medicine), Elizabeth Coon Martin, Buck Martin, Lexi Godzicki with Jaxon, Susie Berner and Greg Berner.

Photo Credit: Jon Hillenbrand