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Historic $93M in donations funds Sarasota Memorial's cancer center

As the demand for cancer care grows, the campus of the Jellison Cancer Institute expands with help from philanthropists.

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's cancer campaign raised over $93 million to support the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute.
Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's cancer campaign raised over $93 million to support the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute.
Image courtesy of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
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The Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation has raised more than $93 million for its “Leading with Care” cancer campaign that has supported the development of the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, according to a statement from the health care system's philanthropic arm. A recent donation helped achieve that level, making it the largest fundraising campaign in the foundation's 48-year history.

More than $21 million of the funds came from Susan Milman, whose $16 million gift announced in early April will support the outpatient cancer pavilion that is slated to open in late 2025 at the Jellison Cancer Institute. It will be called the Milman-Kover Cancer Pavilion in honor of her family and will house an expanded breast health center with radiation oncology, infusion, brachytherapy, outpatient surgery and the latest diagnostic imaging technology.

Other buildings at the Jellison Cancer Institute include a radiation oncology center and inpatient and surgical oncology tower that opened in 2020 and 2021, officials say.

"Philanthropic support has played a vitally important role in the development of the Jellison Cancer Institute and the many expanded programs and services essential to providing comprehensive cancer care," Sarasota Memorial Health Care System CEO David Verinder says in a statement.

The foundation launched its "Leading with Care" cancer campaign in 2017 so people would not have to travel for cancer care. Back then, officials say, 50% of cancer patients were leaving the community to receive treatment.

At first, the goal was to raise $50 million in five years. However, in 2020, the Brian and Sheila Jellison Family Foundation donated $25 million, and the bar was raised.

"With so much momentum, the campaign goal was increased to $75 million,” Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation President Stacey Corley says in a statement. “The Jellisons’ generosity fast-tracked the creation of the cancer institute and inspired even more support from the community.” 

The Jellisons’ donation helped the hospital create advanced treatments, state-of-the-art facilities and a centralized place to assist patients and families process the decisions accompanying a diagnosis of cancer, the statement says.

About 39.5% of adults will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetimes, according to the National Cancer Institute.

"As our population continues to grow, cancer care will remain a critical need and ongoing support from our community is imperative,” Corley says. “We couldn't be more grateful for our remarkable supporters who helped us reach this extraordinary milestone.”



Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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