Inspired by employee donations, Northwestern Medicine makes its largest gift to area food banks

Employees attend volunteer events at 4 locations, including Lake Forest

Team NM employee volunteer events took place at four food bank locations on Feb. 24, including at Northern Illinois Food Bank - Lake Forest.

CHICAGO – Inspired by the generosity of its employees, Northwestern Medicine is donating $200,000 to area food banks.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository and Northern Illinois Food Bank each will receive $100,000.

Health system leaders thanked staff and surprised them with the total gift amount during Team NM employee volunteer events at four food bank locations Feb. 24.

Northwestern Medicine leadership was inspired to dedicate more funds to the food banks after more than 5,000 employees opted to donate the grocery gift certificates they would have received as part of their holiday gifts. Thanks to those donations, employees raised more than $76,000. Leadership made the decision to increase the overall donation to further support employees’ dedication to the food banks.

“Our employees made it clear that they’re committed to addressing food insecurity in the communities we serve and it’s in their honor that we’re increasing Northwestern Medicine’s donation to provide access to nutritious food where it’s most needed,” Ann Hall, vice president of administration at Northwestern Medicine, said in a news release.

Employees who donated their grocery certificates were invited to volunteer at the food banks to see how their donations are used. Health system leaders surprised them with the announcement during their volunteer shifts at four food bank locations: Greater Chicago Food Depository, Northern Illinois Food Bank – Geneva, Northern Illinois Food Bank – Joliet and Northern Illinois Food Bank – Lake Forest.

Through donations of funds and volunteer time, Northwestern Medicine has provided the Northern Illinois Food Bank with $5.6 million worth of groceries to people in need since 2015.

“We are grateful for Northwestern Medicine’s generous donation and longtime partnership,” said Julie Yurko, president and CEO at Northern Illinois Food Bank. “Our network of 900 food pantries, soup kitchens and direct distribution programs provide 82 million meals a year and serve over 500,000 neighbors a month. Good nutrition is crucial to physical and mental health. These funds will help us continue our mission of providing neighbors and their families access to the nutritious food they need to thrive.”

Since 2020, Northwestern Medicine volunteers have packed more than 10,000 pounds of food at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

“This generous donation by Northwestern Medicine is an investment in health and hope for our neighbors,” said Jill Zimmerman, chief philanthropy officer for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “At the food depository, we believe that food is a basic human right. We are grateful that so many people at Northwestern Medicine share that belief and commitment to our neighbors. Together, we are greater. Together, we can end hunger.”

Northwestern Medicine has long-standing roots in community service and volunteering, supporting local and national organizations that are committed to building stronger, healthier communities.

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