AdventHealth Foundation West Florida has a name that reflects its meaning. There is community giving at the cornerstone of everything AdventHealth stands for, whole-person health for the body, mind and spirit of its patients and staff.
As McKenzie Doll, executive director of the Hillsborough County Foundations explains, “The job of AdventHealth Foundation West Florida is helping the hospital go that one step further to provide whole-person care. One hundred percent of our donor dollars stay in our hospitals and are directed where the donors have a personal passion or preference. So, if a donor is interested in technology, I will work with that donor to identify different needs in areas of opportunity within the hospital where we can bring the best technology. Same with pediatrics, or cancer oncology, digestive health, breast health or whatever it may be. We have the opportunity to work with different donors and community members to match their interests and desired impact against the needs of the hospital, and get creative to find win-win solutions.”
These solutions exemplify a spirit of thoughtful community impact. AdventHealth Foundation West Florida comprises nine hospital foundations, including three in Hillsborough County.
As Kristen McCall, president of the Foundation explains, “We cover a wide variety of community hospitals, from Sebring to Tampa, North Pinellas and Pasco County to Ocala in Marion County. We’re also building a new hospital in Riverview and then we have our facilities in Polk County. We’re the largest size foundation from a geographic perspective in our entire organization. Since we’re a not-for-profit, faith-based organization, our job is to ensure that the AdventHealth West Florida Division gains critical dollars to ensure that the health care provided to our patients is expert and exceptional, to help our staff have the tools they need to provide expert care, and that nobody is turned away for care. Because that’s the beauty of our organization: we don’t turn anyone away, if they have the ability to pay or not. The Foundation’s sole purpose is to raise money for leading-edge programs and projects within our entire West Florida division.”
Serving patients is what AdventHealth West Florida says it does best and the foundation provides the building blocks for their success. Doll frequently gives tours of AdventHealth facilities to interested community members but often finds donations among former patients who want to give back after their care experience. She cites a recent example when a husband became “passionate about robotic technologies within rehabilitation care for stroke victims” after his wife’s experience as a patient with AdventHealth West Florida Connerton.
“It’s just a truly grateful patient story,” she says. “Where a family was inspired by our care, and wanted to help the community, and wanted to help future families so they don’t have to travel outside of Florida to receive some of the best medical advancements and specifically technological advancements out there.”
Over and over, Doll says she finds that AdventHealth’s commitment to whole-person care leads to greater community involvement.
McCall herself adds, “AdventHealth really is mindful about tending to the mind and spirit, along with the care for the body. And that’s what I think really separates AdventHealth amongst our competitors. Of course, we do things to heal what is physically wrong with our patients, but we also want to lift someone’s spirit and ease their mind as they journey through our care. We look at each patient individually and really personalize the care based around that individual.”
Another key component to the Foundation’s support of AdventHealth West Florida is its Corporate Partners Program. The program builds meaningful relationships with business and community leaders, supporting initiatives and funding priorities for the West Florida network of hospitals. Each year, the Foundation puts on three signature events, inviting its corporate partners and community leaders to gather in support of the mission of advancing whole-person care. This includes the annual Starlight Gala, which in 2023 will raise funds to advance cardiovascular care throughout the AdventHealth West Florida division. This year will be special, as Lisa Altman, senior director of corporate philanthropy and special events, explains, “This year’s theme is a ‘Heart of Gold’, focusing on cardiac care across West Florida and on one of our division’s golden legacies, the Pepin Heart Institute.”
The gala will be chaired by the Pepin family and celebrates their legacy of service. This commitment to cardiac care started in 1986, when Tampa resident Arthur “Pep” Pepin had to look outside the state for a heart transplant. After the successful treatment, he and his family dedicated funds to bring the nation’s best heart care close to home. Now known as Pepin Heart Institute at AdventHealth Tampa, it includes the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute and is nationally recognized for heart and chest pain care by the American Heart Association, the Joint Commission and the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. As Starlight Gala chairs, the Pepin family will champion fundraising for Pepin Heart and AdventHealth West Florida’s heart health services, encouraging others to contribute to new treatments, research and innovative technology. Taking place on October 1 at the JW Marriott Water Street, the gala will bring nearly 900 compassionate community members together to support Expert Care for Every Heart. It will feature dinner, live and silent auctions and a special performance by The Commodores.
“We want to recognize what we have built and where we’re going in the future,” Altman says. “‘Heart of gold’ speaks to that old-Hollywood nostalgia to the event, recognizing where we’ve been and then also moving forward to where we’re headed, when really none of that would be possible without our supporters in the community.” ♦