2014 Health Care Heroes: David H. Kleiman

Tom Harton
March 6, 2014
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Health Care HeroesWinner - Volunteer

David H. Kleiman, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

 The new city hospital in Indianapolis was built on a solid foundation—the Eskenazi Health Foundation, which was instrumental in financing the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health Campus that opened in December.

But the foundation, formerly the Wishard Memorial Foundation, wasn’t always so solid. It was all but dormant before David H. Kleiman joined its board in 2006, launching an overhaul that resulted in not only a more robust foundation but a fundraising campaign that laid the groundwork for the largest public hospital relocation in the United States since 2002.

hch_klieman.jpg David H. Kleiman (IBJ Photo/Eric Learned)

For Kleiman’s central role in reviving the foundation and its fundraising efforts, he is being honored as the Health Care Heroes top volunteer.

Kleiman’s involvement with Marion County’s public health system started with the death of his brother-in-law and law partner, Phillip Pecar. Pecar had been chairman of Marion County Health & Hospital Corp., and the county health department wanted to honor his memory by building a health clinic in his name at 6940 Michigan Road. Kleiman became a member of the Pecar Health Center Fundraising Committee, which raised $1 million in 2004 and 2005 to build the clinic, which is now called Eskenazi Health Center Pecar.

His participation in that effort led to Kleiman’s joining the board of the Wishard Memorial Foundation in 2006. It wasn’t long before he and fellow board member John Pelizzari, who was then president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank Indiana, set out to overhaul the makeup of the foundation’s board and staff.

“David was instrumental in recruiting a broad array of highly respected and visionary community leaders to the board,” said the trio of Eskenazi executives who nominated him for Health Care Heroes. The transformation of the foundation also involved its staff, which is now headed by Ernest Vargo II, who was recruited from the local fundraising consulting firm Johnson Grossnickle & Associates. Of the foundation’s dozen staff members, only one remains from before the restructuring, Kleiman said.

Kleiman’s biggest feat was connecting Wishard with the funders whose names would adorn the new hospital and the foundation itself.

“I’d known Sid and Lois [Eskenazi] for many years and had been involved in soliciting them for some other gifts,” said Kleiman, who is now 79. “And I knew they were interested in a major naming gift.”

Kleiman and the Eskenazis met to discuss the new hospital, and it wasn’t long before the Eskenazis had agreed to donate $40 million, one of the largest individual gifts in the history of Indianapolis.

The Eskenazi gift was the largest in what became the Eskenazi Health Capital Campaign, which raised more than $80 million for the hospital campus, including more than $2.5 million from health system employees.

The end of the campaign coincided with the end of Kleiman’s two-year term as chairman of the foundation board. As he stepped down as chairman (not from the board itself, which he still serves), Kleiman challenged the board to set a course for the future. It was determined that the board would continue to undertake major projects with the potential to benefit the health of the entire Indianapolis community. The board is presently studying one such project, which Kleiman said would require a significant fundraising effort.

Sharyl Border, a community volunteer who now works for Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, spent a lot of time in a previous job doing training sessions at the old Wishard and saw firsthand the need for a new facility to serve the city. It took leadership like Kleiman’s to literally rebuild Wishard from the ground up.

“Few community leaders selflessly offer ... their personal time and resources year after year like David Kleiman has done for Wishard/Eskenazi Health,” Border said.

Kleiman’s voluntary contributions to public health don’t begin and end with Eskenazi Health. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was on the board of Planned Parenthood of Central Indiana. And he’s been involved for many years with United Way of Central Indiana and United Way agencies that focus on the health of the underserved, particularly children.

Kleiman, a partner in the law firm Benesch’s Business Reorganization Practice Group, has donated his time to numerous organizations in the community, including the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.•



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.

  2. IU has been talking that line for years with no real progress even with the last Dean, Dr. Brater. Why will an outsider, Dr. Hess, make a difference? With no proof of additional resources (cash in the bank), and a concrete plan to move an academic model that has been outdated for decades with a faculty complacent with tenure and inertia, I can count on IU to remain the same during the tenure of Dr. Hess. One ought to look to Purdue and Notre Dame for change and innovation. It is just too bad that both of those schools do not have their own medical school. Competition might wake up IU. My guess is, that even with those additions to our State, IU will remain in its own little world squandering our State's tax dollars. Why would any donor want to contribute to IU with its track record? What is its strategy to deal with the physician shortage for our State? New leadership will not be enough for us to expect any change.

  3. How do you think the Bridges got approved? I spent a couple days researching PAC's and individual contributions to some city council members during that time. My printouts were inches thick on the two I concentrated on. Finally gave up. Was disgusted with all the donations, and who they were from. Would have taken me days and days to compile a complete list. Tried to give it to the Star reporter, but he thought it was all just fine. (and apparently he was treated well himself) He ended up being laid off or fired though. And then of course, there was land donated to the dad's club, or city, as a partial payoff. All done in the shining example of "charity." No, none of these contributions are a coincidence.

  4. I agree what kind of help or if any will be there for Dr. Ley's patients. I was a patient myself.

  5. What about the hundreds of patients who sought this doctor for the right reasons, to quit drugs. what option do these patients now have, experience horrible withdrawl or return to heroin?? those are the choices. what about the children of these former addicts who's parent(s) WILL not b able to maintain their job, for @ least 2 weeks.. There needs to b an emergency clinic opened for these patients.