50 Years of Leadership

For 50 years, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has served the IBD community, touching the lives of patients, caregivers, physicians, researchers, donors, staff, and volunteers through its education, support, advocacy, and research initiatives. We could not have reached this milestone in our history without the support and guidance of our founders, researchers, and supporters. The following stories highlight some of the individuals who have had a profound impact on the Foundation over the past five decades, helping to shape the organization into what it is today.

Founders

Fueled by personal and professional experiences, the founders of the National Foundation for Ileitis & Colitis (now known as the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation) set the groundwork for the Foundation’s mission and research, education, support, and advocacy programs. Without their passion, strength, and vision, we would not be the organization we are today.

The Rosenthal Family

The Rosenthal Family

The Rosenthal Family

The Rosenthals were passionate not only about finding cures for IBD but also about ensuring patients had educational and support resources available, and advocating for the needs of patient on the state and federal level.

Read about the Rosenthal Family

The Modell Family

The Modell Family

The Modell Family's Story

Thanks to the support and leadership of the Modell family, IBD patients have access a plethora of educational materials and support groups, and researchers are even closer to finding cures for Crohn’s and colitis.

Read about the Modell Family

Dr. Henry Janowitz

Dr. Henry Janowitz

Dr. Henry Janowitz

Through Dr. Janowitz's efforts in establishing and building the Foundation, and by improving the medical treatment of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, his work made a profound difference in the lives of all IBD patients.

Read about Dr. Henry Janowitz

Researchers

The Foundation's research agenda over the past 50 years has been shaped by hundreds of renowned clinicians and researchers from across the country. Without their guidance and scientific contributions to the IBD community, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Thank you to the chairs and members of our National Scientific Advisory Committee and to all of our researchers, past, present, & future, for improving the quality of life of patients and bringing us closer to IBD cures.

Dr. Daniel Present

Dr. Daniel Present

Dr. Daniel Present

For nearly five decades following that first grant, Dr. Daniel Present was at the forefront of research into the diagnosis and treatment of IBD.

Read about Dr. Daniel Present

Dr. Burton Korelitz

Dr. Burton Korelitz

Dr. Burton Korelitz

Dr. Burton Korelitz's research efforts were instrumental in helping clinicians understand how to use (and when not to use) specific medications, including azulfidine and aminosalicylate products, intravenous and oral steroids, and the current biologicals.

Read about Dr. Burton Korelitz

Dr. Stephan Targan

Dr. Stephan Targan

Dr. Stephan Targan

Under Dr. Stephan Targan's leadership as Chair of the Foundation’s National Scientific Advisory Committee, the Foundation developed its first “Challenges in IBD Research” a consensus paper that led to the creation of the Foundation’s research strategic plan.

Read about Dr. Stephan Targan

Richard MacDermott

Dr. Richard MacDermott

Dr. Richard MacDermott

Dr. MacDermott played a leading role in moving the Foundation's research agenda forward. He worked unflaggingly to cultivate and build the IBD research community throughout his career.

Read about Dr. Richard MacDermott

Dr. Balfour Sartor

Dr. Balfour Sartor

Dr. Balfour Sartor

As a patient, a father, and a grandfather, Dr. Sartor hopes to prevent disease in future generations, and will continue his invaluable work in pursuit of that goal.

Read about Dr. Balfour Sartor

Dr. Charles Elson

Dr. Charles Elson

Dr. Charles Elson

As chairman of the Foundation’s National Scientific Advisory Committee, Dr. Elson oversaw the establishment of the DNA and Cell Line Bank.

Read about Dr. Charles Elson

Dr. Richard Blumberg

Dr. Richard Blumberg

Dr. Richard Blumberg

Dr. Blumberg built a remarkable synergy between the Foundation's scientific programs and its lay community advocacy & philanthropy, leading to increased investment in research relative to monies raised to levels rivaling other national foundations.

Read about Dr. Richard Blumberg

Dr. Jonathan Braun

Dr. Jonathan Braun

Dr. Jonthan Braun

Under Dr. Braun's leadership, the Microbiome Initiative has made major discoveries that are bringing us closer to better treatments and cures for IBD.

Read about Dr. Jonathan Braun

Dr. Lloyd Mayer

Dr. Lloyd Mayer

Dr. Lloyd Mayer

For almost 30 years, Dr. Mayer was a driving force behind the Foundation’s research initiatives, leading and innovating new ideas to move the field forward.

Read about Dr. Lloyd Mayer

Dr. James Lewis

Dr. James Lewis

Dr. James Lewis

Dr. Lewis cares deeply about his patients and ensuring that the patient voice is incorporated not only into clinical care but also into research.

Read about Dr. James Lewis

Dr. Scott Snapper

Dr. Scott Snapper

Dr. Scott Snapper

Under Dr. Scott Snapper’s leadership, the Foundation has launched several new research initiatives, all while keeping patients’ needs at the forefront of everything.

Read about Dr. Scott Snapper

Dr. David Sachar

Dr. David Sachar

Dr. David Sachar

Dr. Sachar credits a 'seed grant' from the Foundation in his earliest Mount Sinai faculty years for having launched his subsequent academic career.

Read about Dr. David Sachar

Dr. Martin Kagnoff

Dr. Martin Kagnoff

Dr. Martin Kagnoff

Dr. Kagnoff's research led to a deeper understand of the pathophysiology of a variety of digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases.

Read about Dr. Martin Kagnoff

Dr. Joseph Kirsner

Dr. Joseph Kirsner

Dr. Joseph Kirsner

Dr. Joseph Kirsner was a pioneer in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) research, paving the way toward deeper understanding of the immunology and genetics associated with the disease.

Read about Dr. Joseph Kirsner

Supporters

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation couldn’t have gotten where we are today without the Foundation's board members, leadership and staff, and its many supporters from across the country. Thank you to everyone who has supported the Foundation over the past five decades. You have had an immeasurable impact on the lives of the 1.6 million Americans living with Crohn's and colitis.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Helmsley Charitable Trust

"At Helmsley, we are committed to finding cures for Crohn’s disease by funding research that will lead to improved prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of this debilitating disease."

Read about The Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Playing a critically important role in advancing the research of IBD, the Broad Medical Research Program (BMRP) was established by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in 2001.

Read about the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Dan & Ellen Crown

Dan & Ellen Crown

Dan & Ellen Crown

Ellen and Dan Crown have made it their mission to help others battling Crohn's and colitis. Their leadership has made a significant impact on the foundation for the past three decades.

Read about Ellen & Dan Crown

The Brown & Sweetwood Families

The Brown & Sweetwood Families

The Brown & Sweetwood Families

Nancy Brown became involved with the Foundation after her daughter Michele Sweetwood was diagnosed with Crohn’s during her freshman year of college.

Read about the Brown & Sweetwood Families

Rolf Benirschke

Rolf Benirschke

Rolf Benirschke

Grateful to be alive and so thankful to have been given the opportunity to play again, Rolf began sharing his story publicly, serving as a source of inspiration for patients nationwide and directing people to the Foundation for information and support.

Read about Rolf Benirschke

Mike McCready

Mike McCready

Mike McCready

Mike is truly an inspiration for all patients living with these debilitating digestive diseases, and proof that having IBD doesn’t have to prevent you from achieving your dreams.

Read about Mike McCready

Mary Ann Mobley & Gary Collins

Mary Ann Mobley & Gary Collins

Mary Ann Mobley & Gary Collins

Mary Ann Mobley was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1962, just three years after she was crowned Miss America. Along with her husband Gary Collins, the two helped to significantly raise awareness of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Read about Mary Ann Mobley & Gary Collins

Maura Breen

Maura Breen

Maura Breen

Maura Breen has been a tremendous part of the Foundation over the years. She is a great business strategist whose leadership style inspired accountability, collaboration, loyalty, and action.

Read about Maura Breen

The Cutlers

The Cutlers

The Cutlers

When Ted & Joel Cutler's son Joel was diagnosed [with IBD], there was little information about the diseases and they tirelessly pushed to learn as much as they could while also helping to improve the lives of other patients.

Read about the Cutlers

Andy Garb

Andy Garb

Andy Garb

Andy advances the mission of the Foundation through his and his wife Sheila’s personal contributions to the Foundation as well as through his advocacy with three foundations, which contribute annually and generously to IBD research.

Read about Andy Garb

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Rick Geswell

Rick Geswell

As President & CEO for nearly 10 years, Richard (Rick) Geswell's leadership and vision for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation transformed the Foundation's research and patient support into advanced, cutting-edge programs that altered the landscape for IBD patients.

Read about Rick Geswell

Vance Gibbs

Vance Gibbs

Vance Gibbs

Vance Gibbs first became involved with the Foundation when his son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and he has participated in all aspects of the Foundation, from Team Challenge to Day on the Hill to chapter events across the country.

Read about Vance Gibbs

Mark & Diane Goldman

Mark & Diane Goldman

Mark & Diane Goldman

Over the past two decades, the Goldmans have reached out to others with the disease, organized numerous fundraising events, and served in leadership positions.

Read about Mark & Diane Goldman

Gene Kestenbaum

Gene Kestenbaum

Gene Kestenbaum

The Kestenbaums truly live their passion for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's mission - through their generosity, their volunteerism, their advocacy, and their support of other IBD families.

Read about Gene Kestenbaum

Barbara & Leo Karas

Barbara & Leo Karas

Barbara & Leo Karas

Barbara and Leo got involved when their son Joey was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Barbara, Leo, and the entire Karas family have been strong supporters of the Foundation.

Read about Barbara & Leo Karas

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Don & Mary Jo Lenauer

Don & Mary Jo Lenauer

Don and Mary Jo Lenauer's example of committed, ongoing benevolence has helped launch additional fundraising initiatives by the Mid-America chapter board and has energized volunteer leaders to focus on achieving fundraising goals.

Read about Don & Mary Jo Lenauer

Stephen Marcus

Stephen Marcus

Stephen Marcus

Stephen is a current chapter board member and continues his involvement with the chapter through his passion for advocacy and commitment to creating a better quality of life for kids and teens living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Read about Stephen Marcus

Marjorie Merrick

Marjorie Merrick

Marjorie Merrick

Marjorie Merrick joined the Foundation in 1984 and became a tremendous presence through her leadership in initiating and growing many of our important research and education programs during her tenure.

Read about Marjorie Merrick

Jane Present

Jane Present

Jane Present

Jane Present has been a huge presence throughout the history of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Along with her husband, Dr. Daniel Present, they had a profound impact on the Foundation’s research, education, support, and advocacy.

Read about Jane Present

Lisa Richardson

Lisa Richardson

Lisa Richardson

Lisa Richardson first became involved with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation in 1988. An ulcerative colitis patient herself, she came to the Foundation searching for education and support, and she found it, as well as a family of new friends and colleagues.

Read about Lisa Richardson

Ilene Schwartz

Ilene Schwartz

Ilene Schwartz

For more than a decade, Ilene Schwartz has been a strong supporter of the Foundation’s Michigan Chapter, with a passion for Michigan Camp Oasis. Mrs. Schwartz is herself a patient and local advocate from Metropolitan Detroit.

Read about Ilene Schwartz

Scott Allswang

Scott Allswang

Scott Allswang

During his years of involvement, Scott testified before Congress to increase IBD research funding at the National Institutes of Health.

Read about Scott Allswang
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