Gala Campaign 2020 – Honoring Those Leading and Providing Care

Because of the impact of the Coronavirus, the Foundation will not be hosting an in-person Gala this Fall. We are, however, taking the opportunity to focus on the pandemic and honor some who have helped us navigate it. The Gala Campaign theme: Getting to Zero: on the forefront and on the front lines of epidemics since 1834, recognizes Cook County Health’s current role in addressing COVID-19 and its legacy of responding to epidemics throughout its history.

Our honorees this year are: Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, for her leadership throughout the pandemic and the entire staff of Cook County Health who have stepped up to assure that all who need care get it.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike

Dr. Ezike helped all Illinoisans understand the pandemic, its symptoms, its complexity and the strategies to prevent the spread. Her daily updates not only presented the data but showed us how to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 through our own actions. In turn, that helped us stay the course, stay home, use masks and socially distance. Dr. Ezike formerly practiced at Cook County Health and was the Medical Director for the Austin Health Center.

The second honoree that the Foundation will recognize is the entire Staff of Cook County Health. From those who transport patients, clean and sanitize sites, order and manage supplies, manage and report data and coordinate patient care in the community to contact tracers, nurses, doctors, lab technicians and therapists, the staff has met the call to assure people receive the care they need when and where they need it. They stepped up, flexibly addressed needs day to day, and worked through stress and risk to themselves. We are immensely grateful for their dedication and professionalism.

The Foundation is creating videos highlighting each honoree being interviewed by President Toni Preckwinkle. We are also thrilled that DJ Casper has volunteered to help us learn his Cha Cha Slide by videotaping him teaching the dance to a group  of Cook County Health Staff. We hope you will join in the fun! All videos will be emailed to supporters in September and will be available on our website. All can enjoy the conversations and dance instruction whenever is best for them.

Many of you have attended past Galas and helped support the Foundation and key initiatives at Cook County Health. Although we can’t celebrate together this year, we hope you will sustain your sponsorship or support the Gala Campaign, recognizing the important work of the public health system in addressing infectious diseases like COVID-19. 

Many thanks to the following companies and individuals who are sponsoring this year’s Gala campaign!

Patient Champion – $25,000

Dabir/Methode Electronics

GCM Grosvenor

Physician Partner – $15,000

Archer Daniels Midland

Nursing Advocate – $10,000


James Otto

Health Promoter – $5,000

Margaret and Joseph P. Flanagan, Jr.

Cheryl and Hill Hammock

L&G Law Group, LLC                                    


Lori and Jim Montana

Superior Air-Ground Ambulance                   

The Walsh Group