Rush Signs on as First Partner for Local Laundry Service

Partnership with Fillmore Linen Service brings anchor mission to life
Exterior of the Fimore Linen Service building

Rush University System for Health is the first hospital system to contract with a new West Side laundry vendor, Fillmore Linen Service, realizing an idea that has been years in the making and is tied to Rush’s mission.  

“We’re so proud to see this come to life. Filmore is a wonderful partner for Rush to fulfill our linen needs at all of our facilities, improve our environmental stewardship, and best of all — create jobs in our local community,” says Matt Walsh, Rush’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This is another example of Rush’s standard-setting innovation and collaboration to reduce disparities in health.” 

Rush signed a contract in May for its linen services for all three hospitals: Rush University Medical Center, Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital. The new 45,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Fillmore Linen Service is expected to bring up to 175 jobs to the West Side and help revitalize the North Lawndale community.  

Rush is one of the largest employers on Chicago's West Side and spends millions of dollars on goods and services each year. Partnering with Fillmore is just one example of Rush's anchor mission strategy — the ways in which Rush uses its economic power to bring systemic change through purchasing, investing, hiring and volunteering. 

“With this relationship, we’re winning operationally and financially and fulfilling our mission,” says Quincy Stanley, Rush’s vice president of support services. “This is our gain, and we are helping to create pathways to jobs.”  

Across its three hospitals, Rush uses over 6 million pounds of linen a year. Before this initiative, Rush hospital linens were transported out of state for cleaning. This contract is expected to save the system hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and has environmental benefits as well. The facility’s proximity to Rush locations means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.  

The previously vacant, 111-year-old, five-story brick building that houses Fillmore Linen is being developed by the Steans Family Foundation. The linen service is the first business and anchor tenant for a new manufacturing center in development in the building, located at 4100 W. Fillmore St. Once up and running with additional tenants, the building will be home to at least 250 jobs.  

The advanced facility was built with efficiency and sustainability in mind and will open this summer. More hospitals are expected to sign on for Fillmore’s services, eventually supporting even more dependable high-quality jobs that lead to healthier communities.  

Rush has been intentionally seeking a partner on the West Side for the last several years to fulfill its laundry needs.  

"We would not be here were it not for Rush and their partnership with West Side United, bringing all the other hospitals in," said Jennifer Steans, president and CEO of Financial Investments Corp., for the Steans Family Foundation.  

This new partnership highlights Rush’s ongoing commitment to improve health and expand economic investments on the West Side. Concordance Healthcare, Sankofa Wellness Village and Fillmore Linen Service connect to a larger ecosystem of new capital projects on the West Side addressing historical disinvestment. 

“With all of these projects, the common denominator has been thinking creatively and being open minded while staying focused on our mission,” said Jeremy Strong, vice president of supply chain. “Sometimes people think having an anchor mission is harder or somehow a risk to an organization. It’s neither. It’s really a good business decision.”  

This initiative aligns with Rush’s five-year Health Equity Strategic Plan.  

Related Stories