Charitable impacts on Southwest Florida health care celebrated at the annual Evening of Appreciation event
Lee Health Foundation awarded the Frank Haskell Humanitarian Award to Richard M. Schulze at the annual Evening of Appreciation event held Nov. 6. Schulze was honored for his continued support of programs to ensure that health care is available close to home in Southwest Florida. Since 2014, Schulze, through the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation he founded, has donated more than $4.2 million to Lee Health Foundation.
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation provided funding for the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Cancer Clinic at the Bonita Health Center, as well as construction of Golisano Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer and ophthalmology programs. During the pandemic and following Hurricane Ian, the Foundation supported employee relief programs, as well as families at Golisano Children’s Hospital affected by a forced relocation due to the storm.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this esteemed award named after a devoted local champion who spent decades helping children with cancer,” Schulze said. “Watching a loved one battle cancer is never easy. That’s why a significant area of focus for me has been making quality care available to as many patients as possible, particularly critical cancer care. In our most recent partnership with Lee Health, it has been especially gratifying for me to provide the investment for a local cancer clinic that will provide better access to comprehensive cancer care in our community.”
Schulze is founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co., Inc., the world’s largest multi-channel, consumer-electronic retailer. In 2004, a desire to identify and fund “transformational change to benefit mankind” led Schulze to start the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to give back to the communities where he and his family live and work, ultimately announcing a goal of $1 billion to be donated in his lifetime. Schulze chairs his Foundation’s board of trustees, and his four adult children rotate service on the board. To-date, through all philanthropic ventures, more than $500 million has been awarded, including recent significant investments in health and medicine.
The Frank Haskell Humanitarian Award recognizes outstanding leadership in advancing quality health care for Southwest Florida citizens. The award is named in honor of the late Frank Haskell, co-founder with his wife Betty, of Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund, which was created in memory of their daughter Barbara after cancer claimed her life when she was far too young. For 28 years, Haskell worked tirelessly to help local children win their battles with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders. Previous recipients of the award include Steve Machiz, Al Kinkle, Joe Catti, Jim Nathan, Amanda Cross, Lex Roulston, Susan Goldy and Scott Spiezle.
The prestigious award was presented at Lee Health Foundation’s annual Evening of Appreciation, held Nov. 6 at Hyatt Regency Coconut Resort & Spa. The formal event thanked an estimated 400 donors and supporters in attendance for their generosity and unwavering commitment to enhancing health care services within the Lee Health network. Also at the event, Dr. Larry Antonucci, President and CEO, shared insights into Lee Health’s plans for the next 5 to 7 years to continue to serve the Southwest Florida community, including improving access to care, addressing the social determinants of health, and delivering the right care, at the right place and time, and at the right costs.
Some of the plans shared include a new Lee Health Fort Myers campus which will serve as a center of excellence in orthopedics. Extensive expansion plans for Cape Coral were shared including a new residency program, expansion of Cape Coral Hospital and the Surfside location, a new facility for Northwest Cape Coral, and developing a novel public-private partnership in Bimini Basin. Plans also include growing programs and services for cancer care and children’s health care; the investment in recruiting the nation’s best physicians, advanced and primary care providers and specialists; as well as community partnerships including with Cleveland Clinic for a heart and vascular program and with local colleges and universities to develop programs that are relevant to the region.
For more about health care advocacy in Southwest Florida and philanthropic opportunities with Lee Health, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org.