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Charles (Chip) SerlinDear Friends:

Welcome to our Israel Cancer Research Fund (“ICRF”) Chicago page! We invite you to become part of our community to support Israeli Cancer scientists in their tireless efforts to find more cures and treatments for cancer.

We are all emotionally connected to cancer because cancer has touched almost everyone’s life directly or indirectly.  ICRF offers each of us an opportunity to take up arms in the war against cancers by raising funds for Israeli scientist that are investigating cutting edge cancer research.

Why Israel?

To cure cancer, we must have research. Israel has overcome tremendous odds in its short history to become a world leader in many areas including cancer research. The bright minds, toughness in spirit, and the adroit use of resources make Israel a great place for cancer research.


Over 70 world renown scientists, MDs, and PhDs comprise the ICRF Scientific Review Panel (“SRP”). These accomplished men and women donate their valuable time to review the Israeli grant applications and provide guidance on which grants to fund.  The SRP allows ICRF to make intelligent funding decisions, which has resulted in countless findings and two Nobel Prize winners.  ICRF grant funding is targeted and effective, which makes every dollar raised incredibly valuable.

ICRF also contributes to the stability of Israel both economically and geo-politically. Economically, the funded grants employ lab assistants and technicians along with the money to procure materials and other resources. Further, the ongoing breakthroughs in technologies, including cancer research, improve Israel’s status geo-politically.

If you feel, as I feel, that ICRF can truly improve the odds of conquering cancer, I invite you to learn more about ICRF Chicago Chapter by visiting “Contact Us” on our web page or email [email protected].  Also, please follow the progress of ICRF-funded scientists,  and subscribe to our newsletter.

Best wishes,

Charles Serlin
ICRF Chicago Board Chair

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  • Chair


    Charles “Chip” Serlin, a resident of Highland Park, was a member of the ICRF Chicago Board for 18 months before being appointed Chair.

    Chip has more than 18 years of experience in the consumer auto sales, auto finance and auto insurance business. Prior to that, he worked as a certified public accountant for Altshuler Melvoin and Glasser (1995-2002) and Coopers and Lybrand (1990-1994).

  • ICRF International President, Past Chair ICRF Chicago


    David Abramson, a resident of Chicago, is chairman of Rapid Displays, a leading marketing and point-of-purchase display firm. He previously served as CEO of the company for two decades before it was acquired in 2019 by Gemspring Capital. In the early 2000s, he was the chairman of Point of Purchase International, a global non-profit organization, representing 1,800 member companies. He holds an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Business and a BBA from the University of Michigan.

    Active in ICRF for more than 10 years, David served as chair of ICRF Chicago for seven years and is currently the President of the ICRF International Board of Trustees.

  • Board Members


    Brad Akers is the CEO of Buyhive Technologies Inc., founded in 2017, which is a leading distributor of workplace health and safety products, including air purifiers, disinfecting wipes, sanitizer dispensers, protective gloves, and more.

    Brad graduated from Brandeis University, and resides in Deerfield, IL with his wife and children. He joined the ICRF Chicago Board in February 2021.

    Jessica K. Altman, MD, is a Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She also serves as Director of the Acute Leukemia Program at Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

    Jessica’s clinical and research interests include acute and chronic leukemias, anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and myeloproliferative diseases. She has published and presented extensively in these disease areas. She is the chair of the clinical trial audit committee of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also a member of the Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Program, the Signal Transduction in Cancer Program, and the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center. She joined the ICRF Chicago Board over 7 years ago and sits on the Medical Advisory Committee.

    Bruce Barron is a partner and co-founder of Origin Ventures, an early-stage technology focused venture capital firm that is investing out of its fifth fund ($100M) and has $235M of capital under management.  He previously served on the Board of Directors of several tech companies, including GrubHub, which went public in 2014 and Tock, which was sold to SquareSpace in March 2021.  In addition to  serving on the Chicago and International Boards of ICRF, he serves on the boards of the American Cancer Society and the Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities.

    Samantha Barron has been a member of the ICRF Visions young leadership board since its inception in 2016 and is currently the Visions Board Chair. She works at PR agency Weber Shandwick, where she manages the PR efforts of numerous pet care brands. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring new restaurants in the city, going to White Sox games and spending time with her family, friends and her longhaired Dachshund, Rupert.

    Rob Bernstein joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2021.

    Rob joined Laner Muchin in 1995 and has been a partner since 2003. His practice has been concentrated in defending employers in employment disputes and proceedings throughout the country, counseling employers on their day-to-day labor and employment issues, as well as handling collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, and a variety of other labor and employment matters on behalf of employers.

    Ilissa Gershman BerzIlissa Gershman Berz is the Senior Empowerment Officer and founding employee of the nonprofit consulting firm, Empowered Nonprofits. Through her nonprofit consulting work, she has partnered with ICRF in numerous capacities and roles over the last six years, including the annual Gala, Revolving Tables, and more.

    Ilissa is passionate about the ICRF mission and is honored to serve on the ICRF Chicago board and work together in a new capacity. She graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2010 and lives in Deerfield, IL with her husband, young daughter, and dog.

    Zivit Blonder joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2019 and is currently a Co-Chair of the Events Committee.

    Zivit is a travel consultant for a family-owned travel agency business, which comes naturally as she was a licensed tour guide in Israel for years. She currently serves as a board member of Northbrook Glenview District 30. She also volunteers with abused women (Shalva) and individuals with impaired vision, makes meals at a homeless shelter, and is active on the sisterhood of Congregation Beth Shalom.

    Zivit currently resides in Northbrook, IL with her husband Steve, and two sons, Matthew and Adam.

    Brian Bromberg is President of the Grafsolve Company, a full line manufacturer of water based, and specialty products used in the printing industry. These products include fountain solutions, silicone emulsions, blanket and roller washes, UV and water-based coatings, filters, and many other specialty products.

    Brian graduated from the University of IL, and resides in Riverwoods IL, with his wife and daughter. He joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2019 and is the Co-Liaison of the Chicago Visions Board.

    Aaron Brooks is the first in his family to have an advanced college degree, graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with his MBA. He is now Vice President of Strategic Accounts for Compass Marketing. Inspired by the power of sincere relationships through his father’s example as he started his business over fifty years ago, Aaron believes in helping everyone he meets through living a sincere lifestyle personally as well as professionally.

    Aaron lives outside of Chicago, IL with his wife, three kids and two Golden Retrievers. He is a photographer, videographer, and huge live music fan. He joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2021.

    Richard Edelheit retired as the national real estate leader for RSM US LLP where he oversaw all activities for the firm’s national real estate practice. Currently, Rick is the International Treasurer of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, and sits on the ICRF Chicago Board of Directors.

    Rick graduated from Northern Illinois University, with a B.S. in Accounting. He currently resides in Highland Park, IL with his wife.

    Sam Fields is a Chicago native who got into hockey at the age of eight. Just weeks before he was to head off to NHL training camp, he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a particularly aggressive form of cancer. He was given 2 weeks to live!

    That was in 2003. Now over 40, Fields has been cancer free for almost 2 decades. He credits Gleevec® for saving his life. He has been on the ICRF Chicago Board for more than seven years.

    Paul T. Fox is a founding shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Chicago office where he serves as Chairman. He has practiced in commercial litigation for over 35 years and been a member of the Trial Bar for the United States District Court in Chicago for 20 years. Paul also teaches trial advocacy at Northwestern University School of Law and at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA).

    In addition to co-chairing the Governance Committee on the ICRF Chicago Board, Paul is also a member of the ICRF International Board of Trustees, Albany Bank & Trust, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

    Gary Grad, MD did his medical and oncology training at the University of Chicago before becoming a partner at Northwest Oncology and Hematology, where he had an active clinical practice for over 27 years. In addition to his clinical practice Gary consulted for several pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies as well as local, regional, and national hospital and health care networks. Gary retired from clinical practice in January 2021, and now serves as Director of Medical Strategy for oncology at Tempus Labs.

    Gary has served on the ICRF Chicago Board and the Medical Advisory Committee for 6 years and the ICRF International Board for the last 3 years.

    David Hakimian, MD is a Medical Oncology and Hematology Specialist at Illinois Cancer Specialists, where he has served as president for the past 10 years. His clinical interests include breast cancer, colorectal cancer, general medicine, leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, and urological oncology. He completed his MD at University of Illinois Medical School and hematology-oncology fellowship at Northwestern University.

    He has served on the ICRF Chicago Board and Medical Advisory Committee since in 2019.

    Eric Helfand is a Founding Principal of Farpoint Development. For the past two decades, Eric has been a proven leader in development with a successful track record with opportunistic and value-add real estate. In varying roles as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, he has overseen the operation of the firm’s comprehensive real estate services, including business operations, fund management, and asset management services for commercial properties throughout. Eric is on the Board of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Indiana University, and is a Registered CPA in the State of Illinois.

    Katie Intrater previously served as President of the Visions young leadership division of ICRF for five years. She is currently Vice President of Business Development for TowerData, managing strategic partnerships and generating new business.

    Katie has lived in Chicago for 12 years and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2009 with a degree in Consumer Affairs in Business. She looks forward to continuing her involvement in ICRF and lending her talents to the battle to eradicate cancer.

    Leemor Katz, CEO of Sort-it-Out LLC, is a Life Transitional Moves Specialist to homes and businesses, seniors moving, sorting and management removal of donations to charities, home staging, custom design, storage solutions, preps for home sales and so much more.

    She is also an Independent Consultant for Rodan + Fields where she expands distribution for world renowned dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, creators of Pro-Activ with their new skincare venture, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists.

    Leemor graduated from Michigan State University and resides in Highland Park, IL with her husband and children. She joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2019 and is currently Co-Chair of Events Committee.

    Jill Kirshenbaum is a Senior Vice President with over 30 years of strategic development, sales management, and ownership experience. Jill has been working with improving opportunities for small to midsize businesses as well as mentoring and coaching individual people, now and through most of her career.

    As a current executive at Briar Capital, Jill and her team bring tailored finance solutions involving owner occupied real estate to clients that meet their multifaceted requirements.

    Jill joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2020 and is Co-Liaison to our Visions Board.

    Adi KlinghoferAdi Klinghofer lives in Northbrook, IL with his wife and three teen-aged children. He was born in Israel, but grew up in Deerfield, IL. In 2008, Adi bought a portion of Prestige Distribution, Inc., a commercial specialties distribution and installation company, from David Waxman. Together they have grown the company from a small operation to a national leader in their space with offices in Northbrook and Dallas, TX.

    Adi enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, playing golf, and eating at great restaurants. He is excited to join the ICRF Chicago Board and is looking forward to help expand the reach of this great cause so that more people can benefit from the outcome.

    Jeffrey A. Kriezelman is the founding member of Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC. Since 1973, he has dedicated his professional life to the assistance of those immigrants, intended immigrants and their families seeking the opportunities, the standard of life and, in many cases, the safety offered by the United States. Jeff and his law firm provide a full range of services covering every aspect of Immigration and Nationality Law.

    Jeff has continued to serve his community and provides pro bono work for multiple organizations. He also presently serves as the President of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Chicago. He has been on the ICRF Chicago Board for over eight years.

    Marc Pershan is a senior member of Leumi’s Private Banking Team in Chicago with over 30 years of professional experience in investment management, banking, and financial planning.

    Marc’s background as a “player coach” at both large and small companies gives him a broad understanding of how to succeed both as a practitioner and as a leader. He led the Chicago region of Citibank Investment Services with over 50 registered representatives reporting to him, and was also a co-founder of New Century Bank, a $500MM community bank.

    He is a proud Chicago Board member and Co-Chair of Strategic Planning Committee for the Israel Cancer Research Fund.

    Michelle Primack joined the Israel Cancer Research Fund’s Chicago Board in 2019.  As a cancer survivor and lover of Israel, she felt that she wanted to contribute in helping finding a cure, as she believes the cure is in research.  Michelle lives in Northbrook, Illinois with her husband and two teenage children.

    Professionally, Michelle is an Instruction Coach in the Deerfield Public Schools.

    Rebecca Raff is an experienced wealth manager who is passionate about helping her clients achieve their financial goals. Two areas of significant interest for Rebecca include charitable planning and retirement planning for small business owners. She is a Shareholder and Director of Financial Planning of Nadler Financial Group, Inc. in Deerfield.

    Rebecca lives in Buffalo Grove with her husband and two young daughters. She has been a proud member of the ICRF Chicago Board and Co-Chair of the Development Committee since 2020.

    David L. Reich is an experienced business attorney concentrating in general business matters for private businesses and business owners, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, commercial lending, leasing, and real estate transactions.

    David is very involved in community development and charitable activities, serving in leadership roles on the board of three foundations, including the ICRF Chicago Board. He enjoys spending time with his family and outdoor activities, including golf, skiing, hiking, and running.

    Jamie RhumJaime Rhum has been on the Chicago Board of Israel Cancer Research Fund since 2018 and Co-Chairs the Strategic Planning Committee.Jaime is a commercial real estate lawyer with over 25 years of experience, specializing in commercial leasing and lending. She was formerly with the law firms Becker Gurian, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and  DLA Piper.Jaime received a BS in Finance from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987 and a JD from The Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 1990.Jaime also serves on the Board and Executive Committee of The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic. Jaime resides in Highland Park and has 2 adult children, Kimberly and Eric.

    Jeff RobbinsJeff Robbins, senior vice president and managing director, capital markets, is responsible for new loan origination, based out of Walker & Dunlop’s Chicago office. Throughout his career, Jeff has originated over $1 billion in permanent, interim, construction, and preferred equity/mezzanine financings.

    Jeff graduated with a B.B.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a major in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. He is an active member of the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association and has been on the ICRF Chicago Board since 2017.

    Paul SassieniPaul Sassieni is originally from England. He moved to Boston in 1987 and relocated to Chicago eight years ago when he joined The Northern Trust Company as Senior Vice President in the Risk Management department.

    Paul is a life-long community activist beginning as a leader in the student Soviet Jewry movement in the UK. Since then, his community activities include founding the Boston Israel Action Committee, rejuvenating the Israel Action Center at the JCRC in Boston, and serving as Treasurer of the Boston JCRC.

    Paul and and his wife Valerie are strong supporters of cancer research, and the ICRF brings together the two causes which they feel most passionate about.

    Brad Silva, MD, JDBrad Silva MD, JD is an anesthesiologist and pain medicine doctor. He is the owner of Lakeshore Pain & Spine Center, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

    Brad lives with his wife and two daughters in the north suburbs.  He joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2021.


    Amy WiseAmy Wise is Interior Design Coordinator for Oak Residential Partners, a national real estate investment company focused on the acquisition and management of institutional-quality multifamily properties. Amy is responsible for the design and coordination for the company’s property rebranding and modernization projects.

    Amy lives in Northbrook, IL with her husband and three nearly grown children. She joined the ICRF Board in 2022 and also volunteers her time working with Paws for Patrick, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting young people with emotional support animals and therapy dogs to aid them as they live with mental illness.

    Rick WiseRick Wise is a Managing Principal and Co-Founder of Oak Residential Partners, a national real estate investment company focused on the acquisition and management of institutional-quality multifamily properties.

    Mr. Wise sits on the Investment Committee for both Oak Residential Partners and Oak Commercial Partners, a related company he co-founded in 2016 that invests in industrial and other commercial real estate assets. He holds an MBA in Finance from University of Chicago and earned a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois.

    Rick lives in Northbrook, IL with his wife and three nearly grown children. He joined the ICRF board in 2022.

    David ZadikoffDavid Zadikoff is the founder and CEO of Cornerstone Restaurant Group, which provides full-service management, concept development, brand licensing, and consultation to restaurants nationwide, including the iconic Michael Jordan-brand restaurants. David’s career in hospitality spans more than four decades.

    David is on the Chicago Board of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, Co-Chair of the Development Committee, and a mentor with ICRF’s Visions Young Leadership Board. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, cycling and listening to music.

Visions Chicago Young Leadership Board

Chicago Visions Board

Samantha Barron

Vice Chair
Amy Levin

Past President
Katie Intrater

Sponsorships Chair
Alex Garvin

Revolving Tables Co-Chairs
Janie Bock
Haylee Schwartz

Board Members
Jamie Barron
Ben Ginsburg
Rebecca Gasser
Zack Karmin
Daniel Kraus
Monica Micek
Sarah Petty
Scott Polisky
Josh Rubin
Jordan Sheiner
Steve Steinberg

To learn more about Visions Chicago, contact: [email protected]

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