WAUWATOSA — The Yabuki Family Foundation donated $20 million to Children’s Wisconsin to improve mental and behavioral health care at all Children’s primary and urgent care locations - and is now Children’s largest single gift in its history.
The Yabuki Family Foundation is the foundation of former Fiserv Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Yabuki. His brother, Craig, died by suicide in 2017, according to a statement Monday.
Yabuki said the goal is simple.
"[It's] helping families deal with these issues when and where they're happening," he said on Monday.
Yabuki was on a business trip when he learned his brother had died. He remembers Craig's final message to him: it was an email, encouraging him to push on with life.
"It said, 'I hope you'll think about this in the context of your life as to say look, make sure you focus on the things that are important,'" Yabuki recalled. "To some extent, that was a punch in the gut, but it was a good reminder to focus on things that matter: family, friends, but most important, how do we make this world a better place."
With the funds, Wauwatosa-based Children’s Wisconsin aims to have at least 36 full-time, masters-prepared therapists work with pediatricians in every Children’s primary and urgent care location.
Roughly 165,000 children see doctors in the Children's network on a regular basis.
"This holistic integration of mental and behavioral health creates a new standard for evaluation, treatment and access to services for children," according to their statement.
Children's hopes that by 2023, when the program is fully staffed, it has the potential to benefit more than a third of the pediatric population in southeastern Wisconsin.
Yabuki said in the statement: “Out of tragedy comes opportunity. We are honored to pay tribute to my brother by partnering with Children’s Wisconsin to create meaningful change for kids in Wisconsin and across the nation."
“Through our partnership, we intend to significantly advance the manner in which mental and behavioral health issues in children are diagnosed, reduce the stigma, and enable care — when needed — to be delivered in a fully integrated way. Whether a child has an earache or is feeling anxiety, we are helping families to address mental and physical health, together, and with equal importance," according to Yabuki.