Appointed as President and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center on June 1, 2010, Jamal M. Edwards brings a wealth of business and legal insight to one of the nation’s and Midwest’s largest healthcare and research organizations serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning community and its allies (LGBTQA).
Edwards accepted the CEO position at Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) at a time when the organization faced a financial crisis after an investigation revealed mismanagement of millions of dollars in grant funds by past leadership.
Feeling called to service, Edwards left his successful position as one of the few openly-gay partners at Kirkland & Ellis LLP law firm to serve HBHC and the community. From day one as President and CEO, he implemented a business plan to rescue and revitalize the community’s lifeline to essential health services.
Bridging the financial gap to 2011, Edwards successfully led the Lifeline Appeal campaign, an unprecedented effort to rally community support and raise $500,000 before Dec. 23.
The campaign was an overwhelming success, raising over $674,000 by Dec. 23. Support continued after, bringing the total amount raised to over $750,000, putting HBHC back on the map as a LGBTQ health services and research leader.
In his first year as President and CEO, Edwards brought HBHC out of the red, operating with a positive budget as HBHC navigates changes in healthcare and growing service demands. In its first report since his start, HBHC is reporting positive financial gains, improving on all organizational levels, while maintaining a high level of service.
Active in the local nonprofit and LGBTQ community for nearly a decade, Edwards has been involved with the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, serving on the ALCC’s Board of Directors in 2004 and later as ALCC’s President from 2006 to 2008. He also served on the Board of Directors for Vital Bridges, helping to provide food, nutrition and housing for people with HIV/AIDS.
Outside of professional career, Edwards is just as committed. He is an active philanthropic supporter of the Posse Foundation and Adoption-Link, where he adopted his two-year-old son, whom he has proudly raised as a single-parent since birth.