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Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation issues $1.5 million community challenge grant to expand cancer services in Southwest Florida

Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation donated $1 million with an additional $1.5 million community challenge grant to expand cancer services at Lee Health Bonita Health Center. In recognition of this generosity, the facility will be named Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Cancer Clinic.

To provide state-of-the-art care closer to home for residents and visitors in south Lee County and Collier County, Lee Health plans to renovate space at the current Lee Health Bonita Health Center to support a new cancer center with a 32-chair infusion center, four individual treatment rooms and 12 exam rooms. The project’s estimated total cost is $10.4 million.

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation challenge grant is contingent on community support. With donations from the Southwest Florida community, Lee Health Foundation must raise $1.5 million in donations for the Bonita Springs project to receive the $1.5 million grant from Schulze Family Foundation.

“I’m grateful for the leadership commitment given to the Lee Health oncology program by Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to expand our cancer services in south Lee County,” said Chris Simoneau, Lee Health’s chief development, marketing and communications officer. “My father passed away from lymphoma 10 years ago and my mother is a breast cancer survivor, and that is what fuels my desire to elevate the level of cancer care being offered in Southwest Florida. This new cancer center will help many families get additional time with their loved ones.”

Patients receiving cancer treatment often have infusion several times a week. Traveling to and from Lee Health Regional Cancer Center located in Fort Myers can sometimes be difficult to endure and complicated to arrange. By early 2023, the Bonita Springs center will have capacity to serve 30,000 infusions and 12,000 visits to the physician clinic annually, as well as provide access to patient navigation services and other care and support.

Best Buy Founder Dick Schulze created Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation in 2004 to give back to communities where he and his family grew up, including Minnesota where Best Buy was founded, and Florida, where he now lives. Schulze Family Foundation supports human and social services, education, and health and medicine with a particular focus on diseases that hit close to home. In 2001, Schulze lost his wife Sandra six months after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that affects the lungs.

“The Schulze family understands the challenges that families endure while battling a life-limiting disease,” said Mary Beth Geier, Florida director, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.  “Having treatment options close to home is essential and helps alleviate some of the difficulties patients and their families face. Our Foundation is proud to partner with Lee Health to improve local systems that support patients during the difficulties they face.”

One of the ways Schulze Family Foundation supports patients battling cancer is by helping them and their families have convenient access to treatment. For example, since 2006, Schulze Family Foundation has invested more than $30 million in the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge program, which provides 30 lodge facilities for patients and their families to stay close to treatment facilities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

In November 2020, Schulze Family Foundation issued a $200,000 challenge grant for Lee Health to build a pediatric hematology and oncology infusion clinic in Naples that would allow pediatric patients in south Lee County and Collier County to receive treatment closer to home.

For information on Lee Health Regional Cancer Center, increased access to care for the Southwest Florida community, and how to contribute to the challenge grant, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/ChallengeAccepted.

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. Please visit LeeHealthFoundation.org or call (239) 343-6950 for more information about the role of Lee Health philanthropy in southwest Florida.

About Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation

Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation was created in 2004 by Best Buy founder, Dick Schulze, to give back to communities where he and his family live and work. Schulze Family Foundation looks for meaningful investments that produce specific and measurable outcomes with a focus on human & social services, education, and health & medicine within the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area in Minnesota and the five counties of Southwest Florida which includes Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades counties. In all of its activities, Schulze Family Foundation embraces its founder’s vision to strengthen and support initiatives that lead to transformational change within our communities. For more information about Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, please visit SchulzeFamilyFoundation.org.

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