CHAMPAIGN — Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches chain, has donated $300,000 to Promise Healthcare, the parent organization of Frances Nelson Health Center and SmileHealthy.
Most of the money will be used to help with the cost of care of medical and dental patients coming to Frances Nelson, said Promise Healthcare Executive Director Nancy Greenwalt.
Greenwalt said 45 percent of the patients coming to Frances Nelson are uninsured.
Most of those patients pay $10 for an office visit on the clinic's sliding fee scale, which is based on household income, she said.
This is Liautaud's second gift for Frances Nelson Health Center.
In 2011, he donated $50,000 toward to help with the cost of expanding the health center to add a dental clinic.
Liautaud has remained in touch with Promise Board President Dr. Scott Anderson, a Champaign dentist, Greenwalt said. Promise Healthcare is the not-for-profit local community organization that took over the operation of Frances Nelson's medical clinic and dental center last November, and also became the parent organization of SmileHealthy, Champaign County dental program for needy patients.
Frances Nelson, a Federally Qualified Health Center, had been operating as a satellite of the Community Health Improvement Center of Decatur for the past 11 years. The local community group organized to get the clinic under local control with a goal of serving more patients.
Liautaud wanted to help the new organization with its first year of operating costs, and his gift was given on an unrestricted basis, Greenwalt said.
"He's especially passionate about people who are trying to do well," she said. "If it's good health or good teeth are a barrier for them, he want to try and eliminate that."
Promise Healthcare's current year's budget is $4 million, and most of it is funded through patient revenue such as Medicaid, Medicare and out-of-pocket or private insurance payments, Greenwalt said.
Liautaud couldn't be reached for comment. His corporate office referred a call from The News-Gazette to a public relations contact.
"I like the changes I am hearing about, and am glad that my family and I can help," he said in a written statement.