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Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network to preview, dedicate building in Chatham

Facility to be dedicated in honor of civic leader, retiring executive Jack Lynch

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network will preview its renovation of Chicago’s historic Independence Bank in Chatham for community leaders and select media on April 17, with a building dedication in honor of longtime civic leader Jack Lynch.

The dedication will take place at Gift of Hope’s new Chatham Office, 7936 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago. Following a ribbon-cutting and brief program, invited guests can tour the three-level building to be dedicated and named after Lynch, who retires from Gift of Hope after 35 years of service.

Invited guests and speakers include Lynch, Gift of Hope President/CEO Harry Wilkins MD; Patrice Boyles, Ed.D., Dean, Continuing Education and Nontraditional Programs Chicago State University; and local clergy, aldermen and elected officials. ABC-7’s Evelyn Holmes will emcee. The preview and dedication take place ahead of a grand opening for the public planned later this year.

“Our vision for Gift of Hope’s new facility in Chatham is to create opportunities that change lives, through our own services and outreach and those of the organizations and programs that will join us in calling this building home,” said Gift of Hope President/CEO Harry Wilkins, MD. “It is only fitting that we dedicate this building to Jack Lynch. Jack’s 35 years of advocacy for our communities has truly created countless life-changing opportunities and changed countless lives.”

Lynch came to Gift of Hope in 1987 from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Hanover, NJ. He was one of the first employees of the new non-profit organization, then called the Regional Organ Bank of Illinois, established to coordinate organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana.

As director of community affairs, Lynch established Gift of Hope’s African American Task Force of more than 100 volunteers who coordinated donor education and programs in African American communities. Lynch retires at the end of April as Gift of Hope’s senior advisor, working to build and strengthen Gift of Hope’s relationships with community and civic group leaders to increase organ and tissue donation. He is a strategic advisor to the president/CEO and part of senior leadership on community relations, minority relations and organ, eye and tissue donation awareness and education.

Purchased by Gift of Hope for $1.25 million in 2019, the historic Chatham building once housed Independence Bank, the nation’s largest Black-owned bank, and later housed Urban Partnership Bank.

With funding support from the state of Illinois and City of Chicago, Gift of Hope is completing a $10.9 million renovation of the 48,000-square-foot building. The facility’s third floor will house Gift of Hope’s Chicago-based community outreach and volunteer services, along with additional business offices. It will also serve as the Gift of Hope’s disaster recovery site and backup call center for uninterrupted coordination of critical organ and tissue donation in any emergency that affects operations at its Itasca headquarters. Chicago State University will occupy space on the building’s lower level and first floor, expanding its Department of Continuing Education and Department of Nursing to the new Chatham site and offering educational and personal enrichment programs that engage the community and help in creating a skilled workforce. “CSU is committed to graduating diverse professionals—we put ‘Excellence in Motion, through our innovative teaching methods, research, and community partnerships,” Boyles said.

Additional tenants are expected to be confirmed.

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network earlier this year announced record levels of life-saving organ donation in Illinois and Northwest Indiana for a third consecutive year. Donors and their families made 1,418 life-saving organ transplants, in addition to donated bone, skin and other tissue to save or heal patients in need of skin grafts and restore mobility and health for patients suffering from torn ligaments and tendons, circulatory conditions or diseases requiring bone grafts.

The need for donation and transplantations in communities of color is especially acute. Multiple health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease as well barriers to care disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic families and communities.

People of color are disproportionately represented on the national organ transplant waiting list. Too many reach the point that they require an organ transplant—and thus, an organ donor—to save their lives. To learn more about organ and tissue donation and how to register, or request a program, visit

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