$100 Million Goal Reached
Golisano Children’s Hospital opens in April, funding needs will continue
The goal seemed hardly possible―to raise $100 million in donations for a new children’s hospital, or nearly half of the $240 million project cost. The commitment over five years was daunting, those behind the effort said when it ended in November. The new seven-story children’s hospital next to HealthPark at Summerlin and Bass roads opens in April.
But from the beginning good things happened, starting in 2012 with $20 million from a Naples billionaire. More contributions followed, many at $500,000 or more each, but most in much smaller amounts. Others gave because cancer doctors at the former Lee Memorial Health System had saved a young boy, for instance, his circle on Sanibel and Captiva in gratitude raising more than $15 million. Lee Memorial has since been renamed Lee Health, the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida in honor of Tom Golisano, the Naples philanthropist who gave the $20 million matching donation.
Suddenly in November it ended in a shower of confetti, happy supporters accepting final donations of more than $3 million. “This is the hospital that you, the community, have built,” Skip Leonard said at the announcement event that the $100 million goal was reached. He is chief foundation officer for the Lee Health Foundation, the group charged with finding project donors. The
But from the beginning good things happened, starting in 2012 with $20 million from a Naples billionaire.
ceremony in the atrium at the Lee Health campus in Fort Myers was capped by a $2.4 million donation from SWFL Children’s Charities, another $1 million from Southwest Florida philanthropist Berne Davis’s estate. Small children alongside the event cheered.
The initial $100 million goal, Lee Health CEO Jim Nathan said, “Seemed monumental,” adding that project directors in the beginning broke the capital campaign into more manageable parts, or “one bite at a time,” and then “believing in the mission.” Craig Garrett is Group Editor-in-Chief for TOTI Media.
November’s announcement ended in a shower of confetti at the Lee Health campus in Fort Myers.