Lee Memorial Health System Foundation received $10 million from Tom Golisano last week for meeting more than half of the $20 million community challenge grant he proposed less than a year ago.
Golisano challenged the community by promising to match contributions dollar for dollar between May 16, 2012, and May 15, 2014, in efforts to construct a new children's hospital. When fulfilled, the $20 million gift will be the single largest philanthropic act in Southwest Florida's history.
"It brings me great joy to witness such generosity and to see the community working together so enthusiastically," said Golisano. "It truly is a testament to the level of support for a new children's hospital and how vital the services are that Lee Memorial Health System provides to the community."
Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health System, met with Golisano on March 8 to accept his generous gift.
"We are incredibly thankful for the confidence Mr. Golisano has shown in this project and in us by offering the challenge grant," said Nathan. "He has truly inspired a deeper commitment to building the new children's hospital and in effect will impact the lives of many families within this community."
As a result of Golisano's match, Lee Memorial has received a tremendous amount of interest and support since announcing the challenge in August 2012. All gifts large and small are eligible for the match and include, but are not limited to, estate gifts, multi-year pledges, corporate donations, grants, special event sponsorships and auction revenues.
Donations support construction of a new state-of-the art, 128-bed comprehensive pediatric health care facility on the grounds of HealthPark Medical Center in South Fort Myers. The new building, expected to open in 2016, will consolidate all medical and ancillary specialty services required to treat critically ill or injured children from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. It is the only children's hospital between St. Petersburg and Miami.
Golisano, a Naples resident, is the founder and Chairman of Paychex, Inc., a leader in the payroll, human resources and benefits outsourcing industry. He has an admirable history of philanthropic support including the Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y.; Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y.; the Golisano Foundation; Special Olypmics; and, locally, the Golisano Children's Museum of Naples and the Tom Golisano Field House at Ave Maria University.
Anyone interested in making a gift or learning more can call the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation at 239-343-6950 or visit www.ChildrensHospitalGoal.org