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Dear Friends:

Chip SerlinWelcome 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 scientists 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.

Why ICRF?

Over 70 world-renowned 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 we feel, that ICRF can truly improve the odds of conquering cancer, we invite you to learn more about ICRF’s Chicago Chapter by visiting “Contact Us” on our web page or by emailing [email protected]. Also, please follow the progress of our ICRF-funded scientists, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Best wishes,

Charles Serlin and Rick Wise
ICRF Chicago Board Co-Chairs

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  • ICRF International President

     

    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.

  • Co-Chairs

     

    Charles “Chip” Serlin, a resident of Highland Park, was a member of the ICRF Chicago Board for 18 months before being appointed Chair in 2020.

    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).


    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 and became co-chair in 2024.

  • 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 co-founding partner of Origin Ventures, an early-stage technology focused venture capital firm that is investing out of its sixth fund and has over $300M 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 board of the Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities and previously served six years on the national board of the American Cancer Society.


    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.


    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.


    Mark CohenMark Cohen lives in Northbrook with his wife Lauren, their two children, Riley and Jayden, and their dog, Cappy.

    Mark is thrilled to be part of ICRF’s Chicago board, where he is on both the Golf Outing and Gala committees this year. He is involved in ICRF because it gives him an outlet for both his passion for Israel and his hatred of cancer. Mark specifically enjoys helping run charity golf outings and has sat on many organizing committees specifically to help improve fundraising.

    Professionally, Mark is a Certified Business Performance Advisor and works in business development for the outsourced Human Resources company Insperity.


    Richard Edelheit 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.


    Tony ElmanTony Elman is very passionate about both Israel and cancer research. ICRF is the best of worlds in its goals to both better Israel in its research efforts and find cures for the deadliest disease in the world. Tony’s past charitable efforts have included both AIPAC and JUF. Tony is the lead partner and trial attorney at Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC which concentrates in Plaintiff’s personal injury trial work. Tony attained his BA at University of Michigan and his JD at Tulane Law School. His favorite hobbies are tennis, skiing, hiking, traveling, trading stocks and Bitcoin. Tony lives in Highland Park, IL with his wife and two children.


    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.


    Emily GottliebEmily Gottlieb joined the ICRF Board in 2023. As a strong supporter of Israel and having lost her mother to breast cancer at a young age, she is incredibly committed to ICRF’s mission and vision.

    Emily is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director at AW Properties Global, a boutique commercial real estate company delivering brokerage, auction, and consulting services nationwide. As an attorney and broker, she specializes in the sale of distressed real estate assets. In addition, Emily is the founder of Styled By Em and provides personalized styling services.

    Emily lives in Highland Park with her husband and three teenage sons. She holds a JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and a BA from the University of Michigan.


    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 hematology, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, 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.


    Noel HaraNoel Hara serves as the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the public sector at NTT DATA, one of the world’s largest IT services firms. He works with leaders of federal, state and educational institutions to help modernize their IT infrastructure and deliver engaging citizen experiences.

    Noel lives in Northbrook, Illinois and is a graduate of Illinois State University. He is a recent Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor and joined the ICRF Chicago board in 2022. Outside of work, Noel and his wife can be found cheering for their teenage twins at their athletic competitions or walking their dog.


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

    Katie has lived in Chicago for 14 years and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2009. She looks forward to continuing her involvement in ICRF and lending her talents to the battle to eradicate cancer.


    Edward KaplanEdward Kaplan, MD, is a Medical Oncologist and Hematologist in Skokie. He received his medical degree at Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine, with residency and fellowship training at Northwestern University Medical School. He joined the faculty at Rush University and was the cofounder and director of the Comprehensive Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies at the Rush Cancer Institute. He was also Chairman of the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Rush North Shore Medical Center until 2010.

    Dr. Kaplan’s clinical interests include gastrointestinal, breast, urologic, lung, and lymphomas, and the management of patients with BRCA mutations and other predispositions to cancer.

    Ed lives with his wife, Lisa, in Skokie and is excited to join the board in 2023.


    Leemor Katz is a Hebrew tutor specializing in Modern Hebrew. Leemor’s services range from Homeschool for High School students, tutoring for all ages, and translation services. Leemor is also CEO of Sort-it-Out Now and is an efficiency consultant for personal and business needs. She specializes in management of life transitions as well as household organization, home office and business needs.

    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 Chairperson of ICRF Events Committee.


    Jill Kirshenbaum is a Senior Vice President and Senior executive at Briar Capital. Jill and her team bring finance solutions involving owner occupied real estate to clients needing liquidity for growth.  Jill has incredible support from her amazing husband, Gary and their two beautiful children.

    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 and remains of counsel. He recently retired after 50 years, dedicating 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 continues to serve his community, providing pro bono work for CVLS (Chicago Volunteer Legal Services) and JCFS/HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Chicago). He served as president of HIAS for 7 years. Jeff is also on the board of Midwest AJC and active in JUF. Jeff and his wife Adrienne are the proud grandparents of 10 grandchildren, ages 5 months to 20 years old.

    After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Jeff was given the anti-cancer drug, Velcade, which helped to save his life. Jeff has been on the ICRF Chicago Board for over ten years.


    Avi Oler is a Managing Director and the Chief Legal Officer of Digital Alpha Advisors, LLC, a technology focused private equity firm. Previously he headed the corporate development function and the legal departments of publicly traded oncology focused biotech companies. Earlier in his career, he practiced corporate law, was a financial research analyst and an investment banker. Avi earned his J.D. and MBA degrees from Northwestern University School of Law and the Kellogg School of Management. He earned an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and his undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School. Avi is a CFA Charterholder.

    Avi resides in Evanston, IL with his wife and their two sons. He joined the ICRF Chicago Board in 2023.


    Michelle Primack proudly joined the ICRF Board in 2019.  As a cancer survivor and strong supporter of Israel, Michelle is committed to ICRF’s mission and vision.  In addition to serving on the ICRF Board, Michelle is also a member of the Illinois Holocaust Museum Women’s Board.  Michelle is an Instructional Coach in the Deerfield Public School District where she engages colleagues in individual, team, and school wide professional learning to address the learning needs of all students.  She is passionate about closing achievement gaps and ensuring that teachers are coached to serve every child, regardless of background or circumstance.

    Michelle graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and  lives in Northbrook with her husband and two teenage children.


    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 Managing Director 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 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.


    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.


    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.


    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

Chair
Samantha Barron

Vice Chair
Amy Levin

Past President
Katie Intrater

Sponsorships Chair
Alex Garvin

Revolving Tables Co-Chairs
Haylee Schwartz
Jordan Sheiner

Board Members
Jamie Barron
Andrew Berger
Rachel Bikshorn
Janie Bock
Ryan Blum
Ben Bluman
Michael Brook
Josh Epstein
Nicole Erlach
Charlie Ezgur
Melissa Fradkin
Julie Gelfand
Ben Ginsburg
Kurtis Gubnitsky
Brad Hemmer
Zack Karmin
Daniel Kraus
Jeremy Myeroff
Sarah Patel
Scott Polisky
Scott Schwartz
Jon Silvers
Steve Steinberg
Ashley Vogel


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

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