The breadth and depth of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky’s philanthropy is so expansive that it encompasses education, arts and culture, fundamental human rights and medicine. The motto of the Lefkofsky Family Foundation (LFF), to enhance the quality of human life by advancing “high-impact programs, initiatives and research,” offers hope for the recipients of its far-reaching benefits.
Supporting Medical Advances
By extending philanthropy into research for brain tumors, cancer and other challenging medical issues, LFF offers hope for treatment and recovery.
- American Brain Tumor Association
Approximately 700,000 Americans live with a brain tumor, and the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) supports the needs of patients and their caregivers. With funding for critical research that pursues scientific breakthroughs in diagnosing, treating and caring for patients, ABTA continues a family tradition of more than 40 years.
- Damon Runyan Cancer Research Foundation
A colorful Brooklyn newspaper writer and the author of Broadway’s Guys and Dolls, Damon Runyan died from throat cancer in 1946. It inspired fellow journalist Walter Winchell to establish the Damon Runyon Cancer Memorial Fund. The research into brain cancer continues with the work of Lefkofsky Family Fellow Dr. Beveley Piggott who is examining the function of ion channels in the disease.
Research findings indicate that the movement of the sodium and potassium ions in and out of cells is essential, and mutations have shown links to cancer cell proliferation. With the philanthropic efforts of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky and LFF, Dr. Piggott’s goal is to develop insights into functions of ion channels that may lead to a diagnosis of the condition and therapeutic intervention.
Endorsing Arts and Culture
The LFF contributes generously to the support of arts and culture in Chicago, the Lefkofskys’ hometown.
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company, a not-for-profit organization that relies on the community for support, presents as many as 16 plays in a season and 700 performances on its three stages. Eric Lefkofsky serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ensemble company that began in a church basement in the mid-70s on its way to earning the National Medal of Arts and numerous other honors.
- Art Institute of Chicago
A 1879 cultural landmark that welcomes more than a million guests each year.
- Museum of Contemporary Art
The permanent collection at the Museum consists of 2,500 artworks that represent creative efforts since 1920.
The Lefkofsky Family Foundation supports many educational outreach programs that focus on offering opportunities to underserved populations.
- After School Matters
A mission to provide opportunities for high school teens to develop their talents gives the After School Matters program a way to make a difference. Students participate in a variety of apprenticeships in science, technology, sports and communications. Skilled professionals serve as instructors who guide teens through their formative years with knowledge and care. The Lefkofsky Family Foundation supports the work of After School Matters as part of the program’s public-private partnerships.
Assisting Fundamental Human Rights
In an outreach to countries where underage marriage is a common occurrence, the Lefkofsky Family Foundation supports an organization that fights against it.