After establishing an employee hurricane relief fund, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation received a $250,000 gift.
The donation from Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse was given to “inspire others to support the dedicated staff at Sarasota Memorial (SMH) who went to work 24/7 to care for our community during this disaster,” the press release states. The foundation is the philanthropic partner to the SMH healthcare system.
“Learning that over 2,000 staff members, nurses and physicians left their families and homes behind to care for the community was heartbreaking,” Eliza Culverhouse says in the release. “The fact that many of them went home to nothing or faced unfathomable financial hardship was almost incomprehensible--we had to help.”
The fund was designed to ease any financial burden employees are facing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Nearly 25% of SMH’s employees live in hard hit areas like south Sarasota County and the surrounding region. The healthcare organization employs over 8,000 people.
“The people who care for the suffering are now suffering--we can’t walk away from that,” Hugh Culverhouse says. “We all need to find our compassion and show these courageous people our gratitude for what they have done, and sacrificed, to care for us.”
In addition, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, a private family foundation in Sarasota, gave the SMH foundation a $200,000 grant.
“Getting SMH employees help,” Teri Hansen, Barancik Foundation president and CEO, says, “and getting them back to normal is one of the most important things we can do right now.”
There are two full-service hospitals in Sarasota and Venice under SMH's umbrella as well as a freestanding ER in North Port. The health care center also has a network of outpatient and urgent care centers that span from Manatee County to North Port.