Saturday, December 4, 2021

Southwest Florida community exceeds SWFL Children’s Charities match challenge, more than $2.5 million raised for new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

United by a common goal of supporting a new, state-of-the art children’s hospital in Southwest Florida, local businesses, community groups and individuals met the SWFL Children’s Charities’ match – exceeding the  $1.2 million match and raising $1,329,516.60. SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. President Elaine Hawkins and Vice-President Dorothy Fitzgerald presented a check for $1.2 million to Lee Memorial Health System after learning that the community had exceeded the match challenge, bringing the total raised to more than $2.5 million. Gifts made through the matching challenge support construction of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, a 128-bed comprehensive pediatric health care facility on the grounds of HealthPark Medical Center in south Fort Myers.

“The excitement and response to the matching gift challenge has been overwhelming, and we are truly grateful to the community and SWFL Children’s Charities for exceeding the goal and for their continued generosity,” said Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health System, parent organization of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “The match rallied the community and motivated so many people to give. Throughout the 90-day challenge, we heard from patient families, volunteers, local business leaders and community groups who were inspired by the match and took advantage of this generous offer to help us build a new children’s hospital to serve our five-county region. ”

After recently fulfilling the final installment of their $10 million pledge to help fund the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. offered to match donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1.2 million.

“I’m so thrilled that the community stepped up to the challenge and met the match. Working with the trustees, we truly felt that the match was the spark that was needed to ignite the campaign and motivate a very generous community,” said Joe Anderson, owner of Benovia Winery in Sonoma County, California and a long-time supporter of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Festival. “As someone from outside the region, I want to impress how fortunate the Southwest Florida community is to have excellent hospital leadership and a very dedicated, active board of trustees with the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Festival. It’s truly a convergence of like-minded people with a clear focus and goal of how to raise funds and where the money is needed.”

SWFL Children’s Charities sponsors the annual Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest each year, donating proceeds to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, and programs benefitting children at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University.

“It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished as a community in just 90 days,” said Dave and Pat Gibbons, trustees for the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Festival. “The fulfillment of this challenge over and above the goal truly demonstrates how much the community and our trustees care about the health and well-being of children in Southwest Florida. We are grateful for every dollar given, every dollar matched and everyone who gave.”

Community groups, businesses, and individuals wishing to make a capital campaign gift to help Golisano Children’s Hospital should visit or contact Lee Memorial Health System Foundation at 239-343-6950.

Scheduled for completion in early 2017, the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida will include 128 beds for the care of local children along with the latest medical equipment and a specialty trained team of medical care providers. The 292,000-square-foot facility, currently under construction on the HealthPark campus, will be completely dedicated to pediatric specialty care. Through the generous support of local residents and businesses, $91 million has been raised to help build the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.


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