Patrick Kelly credits the “typical Irish family democracy” of his parents for the creation of the Donald P. & Byrd M. Kelly Family Foundation, which has recently made a $5 million gift to support oncology research and related programs at Loyola University Health System (Loyola). “In other words,” he said, “Mom and Dad told us it was going to happen.”
Mr. Kelly, vice chairman of the Loyola University Health System Board of Directors, together with his brother, Thomas, and sister, Laura Kelly Smith, are officers of the foundation, which was established in 1985. Their mother presides as president.
“Chicago born and bred, South side Irish on both sides,” as their son puts it, Mr. and Mrs. Kelly grew up in the hard¬scrabble times of the Depression. Although her husband was a ‘public’, Mrs. Kelly said, she attended both Catholic grammar and high school. “We paid $1 per month tuition in grade school and $5 per month in high school,” she recalls, and “I cried all summer one year because my father and mother wanted me to change schools when we moved. But I took a 45 minute streetcar ride everyday instead. I still have my friends from high school.”
Mrs. Kelly continues to be involved with Visitation Catholic Elementary School and the foundation over which she presides channels a large proportion of its charitable gifts to educational causes and institutions. Her son, Patrick, credits the education she received from the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, who have run the school since 1891, with the patience and perseverance he sees in his mother to this day.
Mr. Donald Kelly, the retired president, chairman, and CEO of Envirodyne Industries of Oak Brook, Ill., also is a partner in D.P. Kelly & Associates LP of Chicago. He is a former trustee of Notre Dame University, former directorof the Museum of Science and Industry, and a former director of the Evans Scholars Foundation. “A huge White Sox fan,” according to his son, he is an all-around sports fan and keenly competitive golfer. He and Mrs. Kelly met at the insurance company where she had taken a job after attending college for a few years. She left that job when they were expecting their first child.
The family’s close connection to Loyola began with a fright¬ening medical emergency and has continued for more than 20 years. When one of her son Patrick’s daughters was just 4 years old, the child took a seemingly typical toddler spill at home. Everything seemed alright. But she awoke the next day disoriented and her parents rushed her to the local hos¬pital, where she was intubated and evaluated. Subsequently, she was transferred to Loyola University Hospital, where doctors operated to correct a subdural hematoma. Today, she is a healthy college student.
Of this incident, her grandmother remarked “Loyola doctors saved her life. When that happens, you feel like you have a real connection.” And, now that her husband is a patient at Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, she said, “you really feel like you have a connection. We come here and we see what goes on — we know the care patients are getting and it makes a big difference.”
Although their gifts to the health system (which have included support for the Transplant Immunology Lab and a cancer research endowment) are outside the realm of their foundation’s general giving focus — grammar and high school level education gifts — Mr. Patrick Kelly said, “We believe that the health system is a very important part of Chicago and we’re hopeful that this gift will continue Loyola’s drive to be preeminent in cancer care and research.”
For more information about how to support Loyola University Health System, contact the Office of Development at email@example.com or call (708) 216-3201.