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Zed and Cheryl Francis talk about why they give to YWCA. 0

Concerned about violence, Chicago couple donates to YWCA

September 18th, 2016

Concerns about violence and its affect on the city were factors in a Chicago couple donating $500,000 to YWCA Metropolitan Chicago this month.

“We’re not experts on that,” says Zed Francis, a director for Wintrust Financial and one of its charter banks, “but we see what happens when you can strengthen families and economically empower people. It’s not a panacea but it helps the situation.”

With that in mind, he and his wife, Cheryl Francis, co-founder and co-chairman of Corporate Leadership Center, made their donation to help fund the YWCA’s south side center.

It was their second gift. A decade ago they also gave the $500,000 for the facility named after their moms.

“Our mothers were great role models. They were resourceful. They had difficult lives but still did a lot for their children and their families and communities,” said Cheryl, who also sits on the boards of Aon and Morningstar. “The idea of something uplifting in the community is representative of them.”

The Francises met in college at Cornell, married and then moved to Chicago in the 1970s to earn their MBAs at Booth School of Business at University of Chicago. They’ve since become integral parts of the business and civic scene in Chicago. “It’s become home,” says Cheryl.

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