ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan Health System announced today the creation of the Ken and Jeanne Levy-Church Fund to Improve Cardiovascular Access.
The initiative is made possible by a $10 million bequest from Ken and Jeanne Levy-Church, New York City-based philanthropists who are committed to bringing world-class cardiovascular care within reach for today’s families and for future generations.
Their gift will help patients and families with expenses related to care, improve access to clinical trials and provide support for innovative technology.
“When a family faces a health crisis, the basics of everyday life can suddenly become more difficult,” says cardiologist Kim A. Eagle, M.D., a director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center and faculty director of philanthropy at the U-M Health System. “Not only does the stress of the illness or injury affect every member of the family, but the burdens of medical costs, work absence, child care and other factors can be overwhelming. For these families, compassionate support can make the difference between despair and the strength to cope.”
The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is one of the few centers in the region that offers the newest treatments through clinical trials – often the last, best hope for healing. More than 600 clinical studies are being performed at the U-M Cardiovascular Center.
With support from the Fund, patients who qualify for clinical trials will receive travel and lodging support to participate in cardiovascular clinical trials at the U-M.
The Levy-Church Fund will also jumpstart development of new technologies such as improving cardiac ablation to treat atrial fibrillation and the advent of percutaneous interventions that allow arterial and vascular stents and revolutionary heart valves to be implanted without surgery.
Research discoveries that make cardiovascular treatment faster, easier and safer will allow more patients to take advantage of life-saving procedures.
“This generous gift will allow us to improve access to high-quality cardiovascular care, wherever a patient may be geographically or financially,” he says.
Jeanne Levy-Church received her undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan. Her husband Kenneth Levy-Church is also an alumnus of the U-M, earning advanced degrees in Russian and European history. The couple have committed $10 million of their estate to endow the new fund.
“We are so proud that our personal legacy will now be intertwined with the University of Michigan. Through this gift, we are helping to shape the future impact this great institution will make on patients. We hope our commitment will inspire other alumni to do the same,” says Jeanne Levy-Church.
She led the Manhattan-based JHET Foundation to promote justice, equality, human dignity and tolerance from 2000-2008, and has continued to support prison re-entry programs and efforts to provide fresh food in urban areas and promote health equity.
The Norman F. Levy Atrium Garden, located on the second floor of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and named in honor of her father, a real estate investor, recognizes the family’s giving to the U-M. Their legacy of philanthropy has also provided generous support to young investigators at the U-M who are researching treatment breakthroughs.
The latest gift is part of the University's $4 billion Victors for Michigan campaign; the health system comprises one quarter of the campaign, with a goal to raise $1 billion for medical research, patient care and education.