On May 4, members of the George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities gathered with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine leadership to celebrate the naming of the George M. Eisenberg Gallery. The gallery is the corridor on the Chicago campus that leads from Method Atrium in the Morton Medical Research Building to the Montgomery Ward Memorial Building. It was dedicated in honor of the Foundation’s nearly 30-year partnership with the medical school and its generosity, now nearing $4 million in philanthropic support.
Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean of Feinberg, addressed Foundation board members at the event: “This gallery is a fitting representation of the connections formed by your support. These connections will help to fuel discoveries and lead to breakthroughs.”
“The George M. Eisenberg Foundation’s partnership early on and throughout We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern Medicine has played an essential role in our success,” said Dr. Neilson, referencing that Northwestern Medicine recently surpassed its $1.75 billion campaign goal.
In 2013, the Foundation made a $1.5 million commitment to support groundbreaking research at Feinberg. Through the George M. Eisenberg Foundation Innovation Research Fund, competitive funding is awarded to teams of investigators that are exploring provocative and novel research directions in the field of translational medicine. Translational research is often referred to as “bench to bedside” research.
“George Eisenberg was a visionary in his time, recognizing even then that research is the way forward,” said Dean J. Marousis, director of the George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities. “Northwestern is a fine academic institution and a leader in medicine, and we are proud to partner with you to save lives through this important work.”
In addition, the prestigious George M. Eisenberg Foundation Scholars are leading projects that further scientific discoveries that will save lives and improve health. Eisenberg Scholar Lisa Wilsbacher, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Pharmacology and Medicine in the Division of Cardiology, joined in the celebration to thank members of the Foundation. Her studies focus on G protein-coupled receptors (a group of proteins that reside on the surface of cardiac cells), which receive signals from blood and surrounding tissue, then transmitting those signals into the cell to activate a range of biological functions. Dr. Wilsbacher’s team hopes to define novel signaling pathways in these protein groups in order to preserve the function of cardiomyocytes (the cells in the heart that beat and provide pumping function) during heart development and during pathological stress.
Over a Century of Philanthropic History in Chicago
The George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities was established in 1989 to carry on the philanthropic legacy of George Morris Eisenberg, who was born in the Maxwell Street neighborhood of Chicago in 1899. George was the child of Russian immigrants and one of seven children. His father passed away when he was only three. As a result, George had to start working at a young age to help support the family.
After starting a corporate stationary company with his brothers in his early 20s, Mr. Eisenberg became a lithographer in the area of decalcomania—later shortened to ‘decal’—which is the process of transferring pictures or designs from specifically prepared paper to glass, ceramic, metal, or other materials. He later worked his way up and became the owner of the American Decal and Manufacturing Company, based on Chicago’s northwest side. A prominent businessperson and generous philanthropist, Mr. Eisenberg served on boards across the city and made gifts to 35 institutions each year.
During his lifetime, Mr. Eisenberg shared that he was inspired to give back to communities and fund charitable organizations because he learned later in life that his family had received assistance when his father died. Without this help, he felt that he would not have been able to rise out of the poverty into which he was born. Mr. Eisenberg dedicated his life to helping others achieve that same success, and today that vision lives on through the Foundation.