Donor Profile: Alexis and Jerry Bednyak
Alexis and Jerry Bednyak have become a driving force in Chicago’s philanthropic community. In 2016, the couple founded the Alexis and Jerry Bednyak Foundation to support a variety of causes, including immigrant and refugee rights, educational inequities, medical research, and children’s mental health. While their reach is broad, the couple focuses on “paying it forward” by donating to causes they are personally connected to.
Alexis and Jerry recently made a generous gift to the HIAS Immigration & Citizenship Welcome Campaign, which provides refugee families with the resources and assistance necessary for a successful transition to the United States.
Jerry’s personal connection to HIAS runs deep – the agency helped Jerry’s family immigrate from Ukraine in 1979. Therefore, after the war in Ukraine started, the couple looked to make an immediate impact by supporting boots-on-the-ground efforts, including a donation to HIAS in anticipation of an influx of Ukrainian refugees.
The Bednyak Foundation allows Jerry and Alexis to demonstrate to their children the potential they have for changing someone’s life. While there are many worthy causes, the couple understands they cannot give to everything. Much of their journey has been about learning from the successes (and failures) of philanthropists that came before them and determining where they can have the greatest impact.
“The Alexis and Jerry Bednyak Foundation is inspired to pay forward our successes by creating opportunities that remove barriers and help individuals unlock their greatest potential.” – Alexis and Jerry Bednyak.