When Peter and Carol Goldman’s son Jeffrey graduated college at 21, he packed up his car, picked up a friend, and drove to Alaska to spend the summer hiking and climbing. He returned home after a few months in the pristine air and rugged terrain, but instead of feeling rejuvenated, he found himself unwell and unsure why. Before long, he received his diagnosis: Crohn’s disease.

Jeffrey’s parents, Peter and Carol, did everything they could to help Jeffrey achieve remission. But as dedicated philanthropists, they wanted to do more, by helping to support research and scientific advancement. Beginning with Carol’s involvement with the GIRF Women’s Board of Directors, the Goldmans chose to support the GI Research Foundation to help find cures and treatments for this and other digestive diseases experienced by their son and so many others.

Today, Peter Goldman, President of the Reed-Union Corporation, is a GIRF board member. But his commitment to charitable endeavors began long ago, when he and his mother, Sliv, and the family founded the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, in honor of his late father. As a teenager, Judd Goldman developed osteomyelitis, a bone disease that was then untreatable and often fatal. Goldman’s father received care as a teenager and young adult at Billings hospital at the University of Chicago Medicine. Though he recovered, he was left with physical disabilities that limited his capacity to participate in most sports, except for sailing, which became his lifelong passion.

Based in Chicago’s Burnham Harbor, the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation provides sailing instruction for adults and children living with disabilities. What started thirty years ago with three sailboats has now grown to a fleet of twenty specially crafted boats for the disabled, and a major community partner of the Chicago Park District. The organization serves over a thousand people each year, and hosts an annual summer gala fundraiser and regatta. The Foundation also supports a Junior Sailing program in the Chicago Park District lagoons for at-risk youth living in West side Chicago neighborhoods.

“The keys to our programs are self-esteem and independence. It’s really about building up the self-esteem that many people lose when coping with the challenges of living with a disability,” explains Goldman.

Peter Goldman and his wife Carol (of Carol’s Cookies) possess an equally strong commitment to GIRF, motivated by the unmet need for research, treatments, and cures for digestive diseases.

He explains, “Given the fact that there is no cure for Crohn’s and other digestive diseases, it seems important that we focus our efforts in assisting research. We had a pretty gratifying experience watching what was once a relatively new concept, the role of bacteria in the digestive system, grow to be a robust and promising line of research. We have visited the University of Chicago many times and met with Dr. [Eugene] Chang, the clinical faculty, and the research team, and we have always been very impressed with their commitment to conducting this complex research. We still are.”

This commitment is steadfast, and his passion is heartfelt. Explains Goldman, “We just want to give back to those in less fortunate situations and try to make life a little bit better. That’s all. I always wanted to be involved in something to do with making the world a better place, and I’m fortunate enough to be able to that. We are just trying to help where we can.”