When James Reynolds, Jr. was growing up in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, he was quite familiar with the University of Chicago Medicine. “It was Billings Hospital then,” he said. “I used to go to the emergency room all the time with broken arms, broken fingers, cuts. That was my hospital.”

It’s still his hospital. In 2002, Reynolds, CEO of investment-services firm Loop Capital, joined the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and he continues to support the community in which he was raised.

Why did you choose to join the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees?
The University and the medical center are anchor institutions on the South Side of Chicago. They’re very important economic engines and employers—in fact, they are the largest employer on the South Side. The significance of the University and the hospital to the community is really what brought me aboard.

The administration of the University of Chicago Medicine is extraordinary. And the board members are very engaged as fiduciaries and trustees of the hospital. We’re really engaged with every aspect of significant decision making in the hospital.

Why do you choose to support the University of Chicago Medicine’s health care initiatives on Chicago’s South Side?
The general population on the South Side is among the least healthy population in the United States. The occurrence of so many devastating diseases and conditions—high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, various cancers, and diabetes, just to name a few—is significantly above average for the US.

And if you look at the rates of violence on Chicago’s South Side, I think a lot of it has to do with health. If you’re sick, if you have a very poor diet—some of these kids are having potato chips for breakfast in the morning—how can you study? How can you focus? And so eventually you just drop out of school. If you drop out of school, you could start down a bad path. So I find that health and violence are inextricably linked.

I made this gift to allow the University of Chicago Medicine to dedicate and donate more resources to impact the health of its South Side neighbors.