Sandy Eskenazi donates $5 million to Eskenazi Health

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Indianapolis philanthropist Sandy Eskenazi has donated $5 million to Eskenazi Health—a gift that will lead to the renaming of one of the city’s best-known mental health service providers.

The contribution, announced Friday, is the second major gift to Eskenazi Health from Sandy, the daughter of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi—whose $40 million gift in 2011 led to the renaming of the health system in their honor.

Sandy, who gave $5 million in 2015 in support of a new Eskenazi brain-care center, earmarked her latest gift for mental health services. To recognize the donation, Eskenazi Health is changing the name of Midtown Community Mental Health to the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center.

The center provides services at 3171 N. Meridian St. and other Marion County locations.

eskenazi-susan-mug Sandy Eskenazi

In 2018, Eskenazi Health reported 415,740 mental health-related outpatient visits and 943 inpatient psychiatric admissions. In addition, it treated 26,636 patients for mental health or substance abuse and 2,231 for addiction.

"There is no question that recognizing the connection between physical and mental health is vital to our entire approach,” Eskenazi Health’s CEO, Dr. Lisa Harris, said in a statement.

“And mental health has to come first. Our ability to care for individuals and our community is significantly compromised if we fail to first identify and effectively address mental health concerns. Sandy understands the importance of mental health care innovation and is helping to bring our vision to life."

The Eskenazi family made its fortune in real estate. Sidney Eskenazi, an Indianapolis native who earned undergraduate and law degrees from IU, founded real estate company Sandor Development in Indianapolis in 1963 and built it into one of the largest privately held shopping center development firms in the nation.

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