Wishard Health Services will change its name to Eskenazi Health after receiving a $40 million gift from Indianapolis real estate developer Sidney Eskenazi and his wife Lois, the county-owned hospital announced Wednesday morning.
The $754 million hospital Wishard is building in downtown Indianapolis will be renamed the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital.
The Eskenazis' gift is the largest in the history of Wishard, which began as City Hospital in 1859. The Wishard name, which refers to a physician who led the hospital in the 1880s, was not adopted until 1975.
The name changes would not occur until the new hospital opens in December 2013, and the larger Wishard Health Services would change its name the following year. Any name changes must be approved by the Board of Trustees of Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, which owns Wishard.
Wishard Foundation was trying to raise $50 million to help fund construction of the new hospital. With the Eskenazi’s gift, it has now exceeded that goal, with a total of $54 million raised.
Sid Eskenazi, 81, started Sandor Development Co. in 1963 and has grown it into one of the nation’s largest owners of strip malls. Sandor has long-standing relationships with major retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kohl’s.
He grew up on the south side of Indianapolis, attending Manual high School and earning a law degree at Indiana University.
Eskenazi has been active philanthropically in recent years, giving to the Jewish Community Center, Indiana University and arts organizations. His gifts to arts causes are inspired in part by his wife, Lois, as well as his love of modern art. IUPUI’s Herron School of Art & Design named its new building after the Eskenazis in 2005.