Influential people: Sidney and Lois Eskenazi

Philanthropists

Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health, will forever remember Sidney and Lois Eskenazi’s reaction when they were asked to give $40 million to the Eskenazi Health Foundation to build new downtown hospital facilities—including Eskenazi Hospital. “When we came to them with the proposal, he cried,” Harris recalled. “He was grateful for the opportunity to help, and he wanted to know why we picked him for such an opportunity.”

Sidney is a real estate developer whose Sandor Development Co. has more than 70 properties under management in 23 states. His wife, Lois, was a medical and lab technician. Sidney has always been excited about using his fortune to help others. His crown jewel is Eskenazi Hospital, but it’s hardly the limit of his and Lois’ largesse. They’ve funded a long list of projects, from a $20 million donation to the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture & Design, to recent donations to battle diabetes.

Indeed, the couple provides funds to about 100 organizations, large and small, on an ongoing basis. The two also fund more than 200 scholarships at various educational institutions, many of which will help change the lives of people the couple will likely never meet.

“I get sad when I hear kids say they don’t have money for paint, crayons and school materials,” Sidney said. “We need to help people if we can, and we’re privileged to be able to do that.”

The Eskenazis say they might have one more big project left—one Sidney’s not quite ready to talk about in detail. “It’s too far-fetched, and at my age I won’t even be here to see it break ground,” he said. “But at age 90, I have perhaps one more big gift left in my life. I don’t know if it will materialize, but we’re working on it.”

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