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Rod and Barbara Burwell: Inspire others to give

  • The late Rod Burwell, who was one of the region’s leading entrepreneurs, had a knack for understanding an organization’s potential and generating the momentum needed for further growth and success.

    In 2014, he and his wife, Barbara, pledged $3 million to Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation’s Critical Care Campaign with the idea that they could serve as a catalyst of a different sort.

    The pledge included a $1 million challenge to encourage new donors to give, and it worked – an additional $1 million was raised.

    Although the Burwells had been longtime community philanthropists, this was among their largest single gifts. It was inspired by the excellent care that Rod received at Abbott Northwestern in recent years. That included several admissions through the Emergency Department, which Rod called the “front door” of the hospital.

    The campaign will expand and renovate the Emergency Department, which will be named the Rod and Barbara Burwell Emergency Department.

    The gift was made in recognition of the importance of the Emergency Department as the bridge to nearly every other area of the hospital. Rod said in an interview late last year, “The Emergency Department is where many people come through Abbott Northwestern. 

    It’s important to have a good front door to that operation. I’m very pleased that I was able to do this.”

    “I’ve seen that Emergency Room in action in all types of emergencies, as well as it being an important part of the neighborhood in which it sits,” added Barbara. “It seemed very logical when Rod said he would really like to support this campaign.” 

    This story is presented in fond memory of Rod Burwell, who passed away in March 2015.

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  • Rod and Barbara Burwell and family

    Rod and Barbara Burwell with sons (left to right) Blake, Peter and Michael.