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A Heartfelt Cause

The Fait family carries on a tradition of support for American Family Children’s Hospital.

George Fait's three children, Leslie, Dian, and Joel pose at the American Family Children's Hospital

Farmer, Zillner, and Joel Fait helped create the George Fait Family Pediatric Specialty Clinics to ensure world-class health care for generations to come. John Maniaci, UW Health

While attending his 50th class reunion at UW–Madison in 2000, the late George Fait ’50 first learned of a philanthropic opportunity related to the American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH). He had seven grandsons and a history of generously supporting the UW, and so pediatric medicine was close to his heart.

“Having lived in Madison and been a supporter of the UW for more than 60 years, my family and I made a unanimous decision to support the American Family Children’s Hospital,” he said at the time. “Being able to contribute to this world-class children’s hospital is both an honor and a privilege. The new facility will be a beneficial legacy to all the children and families who pass through its doors.”

Before he died in 2013, Fait involved his entire family, including his three children, Leslie Farmer, Diane Zillner ’84, and Joel Fait ’82, along with their spouses, in a transformational $3 million gift to create the George Fait Family Pediatric Specialty Clinics at AFCH. The clinics include 41 exam rooms, radiology labs, special procedure rooms, teaching and education spaces, and rehabilitation facilities. The more the Fait family became involved in the planning, the more they were drawn to the project.

“We wish no child would ever have to use the clinic, but seeing how warm and inviting it is will make any child’s hospitalization the best possible experience,” says Farmer. “We are really excited and happy to be a part of it.”

As trustee of the George A. Fait Trust and a long-time family friend, Jay Lengfeld ’81 has assisted the family with supporting research and services at AFCH and the UW Carbone Cancer Center. “George worked very hard to earn his wealth and was generous in sharing it to help improve other people’s lives,” Lengfeld says. In 2022, Lengfeld oversaw an additional $2.6 million gift from the trust that went to AFCH and the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

The Faits’ continued support is also helping to improve clinical programs, enhance services, and enable leaders to respond to the hospital’s greatest needs. Because of their generosity, these facilities will ensure world-class health care for generations to come, serving children with acute issues such as cancer and heart ailments.

“My brother, sister, and I want to fulfill our father’s wishes to make a significant contribution to benefit the entire community,” says Zillner. “We wanted it to be something that would live on and really help people.”

Published in the Winter 2022 issue

Tags: Alumni, Children, Health and medicine, philanthropy

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