The Foglias: A Chicago Couple That Stays Loyal to Local Institutions

Northwestern University is among the beneficiaries of Foglia giving. Photo: Eugene Moerman/shutterstock

Northwestern University is among the beneficiaries of Foglia giving. Photo: Eugene Moerman/shutterstock

We know there are important and urgent causes the world over, and many givers take a global view with their philanthropy. But for decades, Vincent and Patricia Foglia have focused in on the good they can accomplish right at home in Chicago. Over the years, they have dug deeper into their pockets and found myriad ways to help.

Vincent Foglia, founder of the successful health care goods company Sage Products, established the Foglia Family Foundation with his wife Patricia in 1993. For the past 25 years, the couple have steadily funded Chicago-area outfits. Their giving has been increasing by a few million a year, from about $2.4 million in 2010 up to around $15 million in recent years. With more than $51 million in assets in 2017, this pair continues to focus their funding in the areas of health, human services, education and youth, and arts and culture, and they have left their mark on many local institutions within these realms.

Local benefactors

The Foglia’s giving style is similar to that of many donors who maintain something of a low profile, but show up in a big way when it comes to their hometowns. These philanthropists don’t get much national media attention, but are often critical players in local nonprofit ecosystems.

Last year, the Foglias gave some of their biggest grants ever, to help treat people with autoimmune and mental health conditions, along with continuing support for medical programs at Northwestern University and diverse community-based endeavors.

In 2017, the Foglias gave about $14.1 million, following $15.8 million the year before. Their philanthropy included two $1 million gifts. One was to the NeuroBalance Center, founded by local RN Joy Wagner and chiropractor LeeAnn Steinfeldt, to serve people with autoimmune diseases through a broad range of therapies and services. Over the past few years, when demand for the center’s programs grew, it needed a new space. The Foglia Family Foundation offered to help, suggesting the creation of a state-of-the-art facility; Foglia is a NeuroBalance board member. Through their support, along with other donors, the new center opened in 2017.

Related: Foglia Family Foundation

The second $1 million gift of 2017 went to the Alexian Brothers Foundation, where the new AMITA Health Foglia Family Foundation Residential Treatment Center launched. It serves multi-symptomatic adult patients, including those struggling with psychological issues of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or addiction.

Another large gift of $750,000 went to Northwestern University, itself an anchor in the Chicago region. The Foglias have contributed over $5 million to the school in total and are members of its Lifetime Benefactors Society. Previous contributions have created the Foglia Family Fund in the Department of Dermatology, which supports junior faculty members as they pursue research studies; the Foglia Family Scholar, a program supporting a dermatology resident for three years; the Foglia Family Fund for ALS Research; the Foglia Family Chair in Dermatology, which brings a physician-scientist onto the faculty of the Skin Disease Research Center; and the Vincent W. Foglia Family Research Professorship in Dermatology.

A recurring grantee who was a recipient of one on the larger Foglia gifts (of $500,000) is Marillac St. Vincent Family Services, home to the Vince & Pat Foglia Family and Youth Center, established in 2014. Last year, the Foglias also made numerous grants of $250,000, $100,000, and smaller amounts to diverse recipients in the Chicago area, including community radio stations, YMCAs, youth centers, service dog programs, and services for the autistic.

Chicago is home to many foundations and well-heeled philanthropists, and the Foglias are not among the top funders in the city. But, this couple that has worked to maintain and ramp up their giving over many years, moving a significant sum of money to Chicago nonprofits. It’s a good bet that even greater philanthropy by the Foglias lies ahead.