Our hats are off to Peter Butler for his impactful leadership as President of Rush University Medical Center and for his inspirational support of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago!
Since joining Rush in 1982, Peter spearheaded numerous volunteer activities between Rush and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and has been a generous supporter of our work. With Peter’s encouragement, Rush delivered a benchmark performance in the annual United Way campaign, and he encouraged the staff to go above and beyond in their support of United Way’s work in communities. We were proud to honor Rush as the recipient of the Impact and Innovation Award at our annual Celebration Luncheon on June 16.
After leaving his role as President on June 30, Peter is continuing to serve as a professor and chair of the Department of Health Systems Management in the College of Health Sciences and will remain an active contributor to United Way. We asked Peter to share his history with United Way and what it has meant to him.
Peter said, “I have been working in my profession for about 40 years, and I have made annual contributions to United Way for virtually all of those years. My more direct involvement with United Way began in 1982 when I first arrived at Rush and helped with the annual campaign. In 1987, I became CEO of Rush North Shore Medical Center (now North Shore University Skokie Hospital). In that role, I joined the board of the Skokie Valley United Way and actively learned about and supported many of the agencies in the northern suburbs.”
When asked if there is a specific area of United Way’s work that resonates with him, Peter said there are two. “Many of the programs that United Way supports not only connect with programs we have at Rush, but also serve the families of our employees when they are in need. The second thing that resonates with me is that the agencies that United Way supports do so much with so little support. The dollars they receive are very well spent.” Accountability and quality assurance are two of the value adds that United Way of Metropolitan Chicago is proud to provide to both corporate and individual donors.
Peter talked about the important role that United Way plays in the health of our communities. “The emerging data-driven world has let us better understand that the disparities in the health of individuals and a community can only be solved by addressing the underlying differences in access to education, jobs, housing, safe environments and nutrition. These are all connected, and United Way is a catalyst to help us recognize the connection. Of all the needs that we still struggle with, solutions to mental health, which is often the result of these disparities, may be our greatest need.”
As for how contributing to United Way fits in with Peter’s overall approach to philanthropy, he said, “I think it’s terrific for an individual to provide financial support for specific organizations that are aligned with their passion and values. However, United Way provides another important vehicle to make a difference. What United Way does is almost like a mutual fund approach. Their expertise helps select high-performing agencies for us, and they efficiently direct resources to a strategy that benefits the entire community.”
We asked Peter if he could only use three words to describe United Way’s impact, he said, “I would have to say Very Big Heart.”
And if United Way of Metropolitan Chicago could only use three words to describe Peter Butler, it would be the same. Thank you, Peter, for your years of leadership at Rush, in our community, and at United Way. This is not goodbye, but congratulations, and see you soon.