The Chicago-based TAWANI Foundation has announced a $1 million commitment to the Gender & Sex Development Program of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, with $500,000 of that in the form of a community challenge. For every dollar received from donors supporting the program, Lurie Children’s will receive a grant dollar from the foundation.
“I am pleased to continue the TAWANI Foundation’s support of the Gender & Sex Development Program at Lurie Children’s,” says COL (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), TAWANI Foundation President and Founder. “The team at Lurie Children’s has done an excellent job of initiating and developing a program of local and national significance. Yet, there remains a compelling need for expanding access and developing comprehensive services for gender-nonconforming children and transgender youth. It is my hope that the community will join me in investing in the health and well-being of these young people.”
Lurie Children’s Gender & Sex Development Program offers a unique model of care for children and adolescents. One of the first fully multidisciplinary programs of its kind in the United States, the program has quickly achieved national recognition for its leadership in the field. The program serves over 400 gender nonconforming children through comprehensive, family-centered medical and psychosocial care and a full range of support services. Equally important is the program’s advocacy and outreach work and research initiatives that are creating greater understanding of the needs of this population and sharing valuable knowledge with other clinicians across the country.
“This gift is so important for the families we serve,” said Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH, Director of the Gender & Sex Development Program and head of Lurie Children’s Division of Adolescent Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The recent tragedy in Orlando underscores the great need for advocacy and community education in support of LGBT youth.”
“COL Pritzker had the incredible foresight to invest seed funding in our program and I’ve been proud to shepherd its growth,” he continued. “We are now a national leader serving a diverse patient population of gender nonconforming and transgender youth from across the Chicago area and an increasingly broader regional reach. The TAWANI Foundation’s gift and community challenge will enable us to transition from a start-up program to a center-of-excellence and increase the impact on the care Lurie Children’s can offer to children, youth and families and provide greater support for crucial advocacy, outreach and community-engaged research activities.”