Taking Care of Family, Clients & Community for Three Decades

Lee Health Foundation celebrates 25 years of gratitude

Lee Health’s fundraising team and volunteers honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Lee Health Foundation is celebrating 25 years of philanthropic support for lifesaving health and wellness care in Southwest Florida. Since 1995, the Foundation and its supporters have made it possible for Lee Health to serve its growing community with comprehensive medical resources close to home.

Millions of dollars have been raised to support Lee Health’s programs and innovations that bring leading-edge healthcare services to the community, including providing life-saving care to under and uninsured community members. At the same time, philanthropy has supported Lee Health’s efforts to enhance wellness and prevention programs to keep people healthy and out of the hospital. Philanthropy made programs possible that otherwise wouldn’t exist, including Golisano Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital between Miami and Tampa. In addition to the building, programs funded by donors include Golisano’s Child Life program, which isn’t covered by insurance, but provides music therapy, schooling and technology to help children better understand and cope with medical treatment. The donor-supported Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund (and similar funds for other types of cancers) covers the cost of treatment for indigent breast cancer patients in need of lifesaving cancer care. This year, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation created a $200,000 challenge grant to establish a pediatric hematology and oncology infusion clinic at Golisano Children’s Health Center in Naples, which will allow up to 30 children a week to receive chemotherapy treatments and see their Golisano Children’s Hospital pediatric oncologist without needing to drive out of Collier County.

“We are so grateful for every person and donation that has supported Lee Health’s ongoing mission to empower healthier lives through care and compassion,” said Chris Simoneau, Lee Health’s chief foundation and development officer. “It takes a lot of people giving all they can to improve and save lives. Since 1995, Lee Health Foundation has helped by raising awareness about the needs of our community and distributing the funds necessary to best serve and support our family, friends and neighbors in Southwest Florida. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Lee Health has expanded and enhanced care throughout our seven-county region.”

Donors small and large, major league baseball teams, numerous area foundations, two area wine festivals and many innovative fundraisers have invested in meeting the growing and evolving health care needs of our region and bringing leading-edge medicine and medical procedures to the community. For a complete timeline of significant milestones in Lee Health Foundation’s 25-year history, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/25years.

Thanks to the generosity of the Southwest Florida community, Lee Health Foundation’s fiscal impact for 2020 includes: more than 4,000 generous donors raised over $27.5 million and more than $150,000 was donated by Lee Health employees to support patients. In addition, Lee Health raised more than $700,000 in 2020 to combat the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and teamed up with NCH Healthcare System (NCH) to create the “SWFL Together” campaign to ensure critical resources, equipment and supplies needed to support doctors and nurses in our region are delivered.

In recognition of Lee Health Foundation’s contributions to Southwest Florida, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Collier-Lee Chapter honored four of its representatives on National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 17. Simoneau, who joined Lee Health in March 2019, was recognized as Fundraising Executive of the Year. This year, he was instrumental in creating the unprecedented collaboration “SWFL Stronger Together” with NCH for a regional approach to the pandemic. Distinguished fundraising volunteers honored were Duane Chaney, a financial advisor at Raymond James in Fort Myers, who created the pro-class tennis fundraising event Madisen’s Match in 2008 that has raised more than $1.3 million for Lee Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital and garnered national recognition by Invest in Others. Kristy Gudobba for six years has chaired the Boston Red Sox Celebrity Classic event that raises more than $500,000 per year, is a member of the Lee Health Heritage Circle of Friends Giving Society, and knits shawls and helps create “Project Pink” bags that are given to every newly diagnosed cancer patient at the Lee Health Regional Cancer Center. George Hamilton joined Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Kids’ Minds Matter committee in 2019, bringing a wealth of fundraising, event and marketing knowledge and helping to increase fundraising at the annual event from $1 million to $2.8 million and joined the Lee Health Foundation Board of Trustees.

For additional information about the role of philanthropy at Lee Health or to donate, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org or call 239-343-6950.

About Lee Health Foundation 

Lee Health Foundation raises philanthropic dollars on behalf of Lee Health including Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital, and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The Foundation provides financial support for many service areas including the Regional Cancer Center, Lee Health – Coconut Point, The Rehabilitation Hospital, Shipley Cardiothoracic Center, Community Health Clinics and Golisano Children’s Hospital Specialty Clinics in both Charlotte and Naples. Over the past two years, the Foundation has distributed more than $53 million to Lee Health to support its lifesaving mission. Please visit LeeHealthFoundation.org or call (239) 343-6950 for more information about the role of Lee Health philanthropy in southwest Florida.

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