CRF Board
Our Mission

The Children’s Research Fund was established in 1951 as the Medical Research Institute Council (MRIC), for the sole purpose of raising funds to advance medical research. In 1991, the Children’s Research Fund began its affiliation with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, formerly known as Children’s Memorial Hospital, and since that time has been a principal benefactor of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.

For more than half a century, the men and women of the Children’s Research Fund have remained true to the vision and commitment of its founding members. The Children’s Research Fund is guided by the principle that there is no higher calling in science or philanthropy than eradicating the suffering caused by debilitating disease and birth defects.

The Children’s Research Fund promotes awareness of its mission through vigorous fundraising, education, outreach activities and an annual showcase gala event, The Children’s Ball. Over the years, the group’s renowned charitable efforts have generated support from individuals, corporations and foundations throughout the nation, contributing nearly $130M to support pediatric research at Lurie Children’s.

The Children’s Research Fund supports the full spectrum of research activity — from the start of ideas in the lab to the time new therapies reach children. We enable innovative medical research at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Lurie Children’s to advance better treatments and cures.

In 2023, the Children’s Research Fund began a new fundraising commitment of $9 million over three years to support Advanced Therapeutics at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.

Advanced Therapeutics describes an emerging field of biomedical research and treatment that directly targets diseased genes and cells to treat, cure, or even prevent and eliminate disease. Rather than addressing the symptoms of disease, Advanced Therapeutics studies and uses cellular and genetic therapies to transform the way we approach medicine.

In addition to this fundraising commitment, the Children’s Research Fund has also pledged to inspire $1 million in major gifts to donor-designated priority areas at Lurie Children’s.

Basic Research

Seeks to answer fundamental questions about health and disease, including medical conditions, human development and genetics. Some particularly promising research is being done on the role the microbiome plays in regulating our immune system and protecting us against disease-causing bacteria.

Clinical Research

Led by Susanna McColley, MD, investigates to find the best medicines, devices and other therapies for specific conditions. Last year, Lurie Children’s had 550 open clinical trials for conditions ranging from cancer and epilepsy, to muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and food allergies.

Health Effectiveness Research

Helps inform health-care decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits and harms of different treatment options, including how these vary from patient to patient, based on comparative research studies.

Translational Research

Looks at how to translate basic research findings into medical practice and improved outcomes, connecting bench and the bedside. Advances related to gene sequencing, an early area of Children’s Research Fund support, has led to more information about the mutations that cause specific conditions. This allows clinicians to tailor medications to specific mutations, observe the results in cell and animal models, and refine medication for optimum effectiveness.

Community Health Services and Policy Research

Led by Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, focuses on research that supports creation and implementation of effective policies and practices to promote the health and well-being of children, families and their communities.