Annual Gala continues Zeineh’s support of McLaren Greater Lansing

As parents of three young boys, Edwar and Lana Zeineh are grateful when they can find time – and a babysitter – to spend a night out on the town

So when the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation approached them about serving as co-chairs of this year’s Annual Gala, which will be held Saturday at Crowne Plaza Lansing West, they jumped at the opportunity.

“This was a fun fit for us” said Edwar, owner of Zeineh Law in Lansing and a member of the Foundation’s board of trustees. “The atmosphere at the Annual Gala is almost magical. It’s very elegant. There’s something about the Gala that says ‘McLaren is going places.’ Because it’s a big show of support. Not just from the financial side of things, but from a people side of things. They’re coming out and they’re verbalizing how much they love McLaren. And it’s starting to resonate how much McLaren loves Lansing.”

Lana said she and Edwar enjoyed attending the Annual Gala in 2017 and ’18 and feel it is a “great honor” to be serving as co-chairs this year.

“It’s important that you get involved in things that support your community,” Lana said. “And when you do that, you want events such as the Annual Gala to be a success.”

This year’s Gala, which will have a Hollywood theme to it, is expected to have its largest crowd ever, with more than 450 people in attendance. Net proceeds from the event, which totaled more than $151,000 last year, will support the new hospital that is under construction on land purchased from the Michigan State University Foundation in its University Corporate Research Park. The health care campus will consolidate McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Orthopedic Hospital into one medical facility and include a nine-story, 240-bed hospital, medical services building, and cancer center. Construction is scheduled to be completed by late 2021 or early 2022.

“It’s already had a breathtaking impact on this community,” said Edwar. “When you drive by on 127 right now, you see this amazing skeletal structure that encompasses so much engineering and skilled trades. It’s already bringing together people from different walks of life. So when it’s completed and filled up with the compassionate people who are so much a part of McLaren Greater Lansing, the next level of breathtaking is going to be the life it takes on.”

Edwar, the youngest of six children, speaks of the compassion of hospital staff through first-hand experience. His father, Frank, was brought to McLaren Greater Lansing in 2017 when he was experiencing problems with his heart, and Edwar said the medical staff wasn’t just compassionate to his dad as a patient, they were compassionate to all the family’s members. He described the caregivers as kind, educated people who cared.

“That just made a huge impression on me,” he said. “I felt there was so much good going on here that I needed to give back.”

That desire to support the hospital led to Zeineh Law being the Gala’s Photography Sponsor in 2017 and ’18, and the firm will be the Red Carpet Sponsor this year. In addition, Edwar began serving on the Foundation’s Philanthropy Advancement Committee in 2018 and became a member of the board of trustees in January.

David Meyers, an attorney with Student Legal Services at MSU, was not surprised to hear about Edwar and Lana’s support of McLaren Greater Lansing.

He said when he was serving on the board of the Ingham County Veterans’ Treatment Court, Edwar was always one of the first people to step forward when it came to organizing events to support the court.

“You would not have to ask him,” Meyers said. “He would come to you and ask, ‘What can I do to help?’ “

Meyers and his wife, Rebecca Fedrigo, eventually became good friends with Edwar and Lana, whom Meyers describes as perfect complements to one other.

“They are two very giving people who support the community,” he said. “When they rise, they bring everyone with them.”

Doug Lloyd, Eaton County’s prosecuting attorney, first met Edwar through his wife, Angela Mina Lloyd, an assistant prosecuting attorney with the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.

“She said Edwar was a guy who acted like he could be her little brother,” Lloyd said. “He’s a great family man. He loves his wife. He loves his kids. He’s very honest when it comes to the practice of law. He comes to court well prepared and wanting to be the best he can for his clients.”

Edwar, who opened his law practice in November of 2008 during the depths of The Great Recession, was eager to practice any type of law when he started. But many of the cases that came his way required him to serve as a defense lawyer.

“It comes down to what are you good at?” Edwar said. “And I found out criminal defense is something I’m good at and something I have a passion for. Serving the underserved can be very difficult, but it’s important to me. It’s a tough job, but the underserved need to be served.”

Lana, who met Edwar when they were students in a linguistics class in Arabic at MSU, says her husband is the most caring and kind person she knows. One who “would give you the shirt off his back and then try to find five other people to help you as well.”

While Edwar was born in Flint and raised in Lansing, Lana is a native of Grand Rapids whose parents are immigrants from Jordan. She earned a degree in political science from MSU and took the class in Arabic there because she wanted to learn how to read and write the language after growing up speaking it.

She credits her older sister, Dr. Linda Karadsheh, for instilling in her an appreciation for the importance of giving back to the community.

Dr. Karadsheh, an obstetrician and gynecologist who is affiliated with McLaren Macomb in Mount Clemens, volunteered at hospitals, elementary schools, and food banks when she was growing up.

She was aware when I was volunteering,” Lana said, “and always encouraged me to get there.”

Edwar, who majored in criminal justice at MSU, enrolled in the Arabic class because he wanted to become more fluent in the language he often heard in Israel while visiting his dad’s side of the family.

He says his father taught him and his five siblings about the importance of giving back at a young age. They also learned to value hard work, integrity, pride, and humility while working at a party store that his dad opened in the mid-1980s after he was laid off from General Motors.

“We were not getting paid for working,” Edwar said. “We were doing what needed to be done to help our family.”

When it comes to their boys, Edwar and Lana want them to grow up with a sense of appreciation for what they have and a realization that others might not be as well off as them.

”The best way to appreciate the opportunities they will have will be to give back,” Edwar said. “That’s why we feel volunteerism and philanthropy is something that is incumbent upon us as parents. That we need to not only talk about those things, but to be about them.”

For more information about the Annual Gala, please click here. 

If you would like to learn more about the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation, or make a donation in support of the hospital, please call (517) 975-7100, email mglfoundation@mclaren.org, or visit mclaren.org/lansingfoundation.