Our generous donors serve as catalysts for improvement and help Baptist Health's entities continue to make monumental strides, advancing our mission and the way in which we deliver high-quality and compassionate healthcare to those we serve.
Juan & Teresita Michelena
"Knowing you contribute to the well-being of your community is priceless."
A retired mechanical engineer, Juan Michelena has spent much of his career developing products that make life better. Today, he continues to help improve the lives of many in our community and beyond thanks to his involvement with Baptist Health Foundation.
As a leader of Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute’s Foundation council, Juan believes that personal investment in Baptist Health can make a difference in the quality of patient care. “Working as council chair allowed me to witness how these contributions have helped Baptist Health acquire state-of-the-art equipment and provide for building expansions,” he says. “This has made the Institute one of the best cardiovascular Centers of Excellence in the country.”
For Juan and his wife Teresita, generosity and community service are values they have always instilled in their children and grandchildren. Juan hopes that his work with the Foundation, which has also included the International council, will inspire others to give back. As he says, “Philanthropy is the reward of living a successful life.”
Gerald Jr. & Jennifer Adger Grant
“We felt that Baptist does so much in the community, we wanted to be a part of it.”
A cancer survivor, Gerald Grant Jr. understands the importance of early detection for all, and his family’s support of Miami Cancer Institute helps make it possible. “There are people who may not be able to afford it, but at the same time, they’re not being denied treatment,” he says. “That’s where I think our contributions can make a difference.”
Jennifer Grant believes that you don’t have to be a major donor to make an impact. “You know, if everyone gave a dollar, five dollars, just think of how much that can add up to be. It’s not about the amount, it’s about being a cheerful giver and giving from your heart.”
As Baptist Health Foundation donors to Miami Cancer Institute, the Grants are helping support the research, clinical trials, technology and programs that are helping save lives of cancer patients “right here in our backyard,” says Gerald.
Liana & Carlos de Mena
“Baptist is so important to our community. And what they've done for my family is amazing."
As the owner of a busy event planning company, Liana de Mena knows how to stay calm under pressure. But nothing would prepare her for the most challenging event of her life: the birth of her first son, Carlos Ray.
Born 14 weeks premature, Carlos spent 92 days in the Baptist Hospital NICU. Liana and her husband, Carlos Sr., were always by his side, and the outstanding care their son received from the staff extended to the family as well. “They make it a point to make you feel that they care,” she says.
Today Liana is grateful that Carlos Ray is a healthy, active boy. As a result of her experience, she wanted to give back, becoming the Foundation’s events chair and supporting the Baptist Hospital NICU and Miami Neuroscience Institute. She’s a firm believer in engaging others to benefit the organization. “The more community involvement, the better,” she says. “We’re there to spread the word and bring people to the table.”
Michael & Valerie Katz
“Baptist is just a shining star.”
A commercial real estate expert, Michael Katz knows a thing or two about building for success – which is why he is Baptist Health Foundation council chair for Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health. “I realized it should be my purpose to give what I can,” he says. “I just love thinking about how I can contribute to the Foundation and to the Institute.”
He is also involved in programs like the HEAT. HELP. CURE. Bounce Back from Cancer TM, which raises funds for research at the Institute. “It’s a way to get across, in a different form, the mission of Baptist,” he says, “and also to raise awareness that Baptist is here to serve.”
But while Miami Cancer Institute is his philanthropic focus, Michael also believes in spreading the word about Baptist Health’s other specialties, such as cardiovascular, neuroscience and orthopedics. “Baptist has all these different Centers of Excellence – it’s not just limited to one. And that’s a great story to be told.”
Sofia & Ryan Holtzman
“Baptist has so much to offer this community."
For Sofia Holtzman, it was the four grueling months she spent at the South Miami Hospital NICU with her twins Luke and Gabrielle that led her to support Baptist Health.
Born at 24 weeks, the infants were not expected to survive. Sofia and her husband Ryan practically lived in the NICU Level 3, where the most critical preemies are treated. She credits the staff with caring not only for the newborns, but also for the couple. “They would walk in and see it in your face: ‘Are you okay? Do you need to talk? Is there anything you need?’” she recalls. “Things like that, they were very cognizant of.”
With the help of Baptist Health’s neonatal physicians, Luke and Gabrielle pulled through, and today are healthy, active kids. Thankful for her family, Sofia now leads South Miami Hospital’s Foundation council, comforts NICU parents and encourages her kids to show their gratitude. “I think that everybody should get involved in some way,” she says. “Whether it’s volunteering your time, making a financial commitment or just a kind gesture — it all makes a difference.”
“Baptist Health has been there for me, my family and our community – and is dedicated to excellence.”
As a successful businessperson, volunteer, mother and philanthropist, Karel Foti puts her whole heart into everything she does, and it shows in her decades-long commitment to Baptist Health. “You often hear the expression, ‘the Baptist family,’ which is exactly what it is,” she says. “That sense of camaraderie, of community, of togetherness, of caring, is contagious.”
Karel started as one of Baptist Hospital’s “Pink Lady” volunteers. A single mom with two children and a full-time job, she still managed to help out several times a week, making good friends and memories along the way. “It was the joy of my life,” she says.
Over the years, Karel has been one of the Foundation’s most ardent champions, supporting Miami Cancer Institute, Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, COVID research and relief and more. Currently a Baptist Health trustee, she believes philanthropy has accomplished much, but countless opportunities remain. “When you’re in a position to make meaningful changes, what a beautiful thing to be able to do — not only for those you love and care about, but for many, many more.”
Mike and Pam McCarthy with granddaughters Ellis and Nora
“It’s good to know that there’s a place with a high level of care when something unexpected happens.”
A commercial real estate executive, Mike McCarthy has plenty of experience in development. These days, as the chair of the Baptist Health Foundation council at Bethesda Hospital, he’s set his sights on helping the facility develop its Emergency Department. “I think emergency rooms are really important,” he says. “I particularly like understanding what’s needed, and then seeing improvements take shape. It’s challenging, but rewarding.”
Emergency care has a special significance to Mike and Pam, who often enjoy visits from their grandchildren, including Ellis and Nora. “Something can always happen,” says Mike. “You’re doing this not just for yourself, not just for the good of the community, but also for them.”
Mike is enthusiastic about Bethesda Hospital’s affiliation with Baptist Health. “The quality they’re providing is pretty breathtaking,” he says. “I had an experience with Miami Cancer Institute, and was really blown away at how good they were. It’s comforting to know everybody involved is at the top of their game.”
Marie & Steve Bedner
“We need to keep nurturing and supporting this first-rate facility.”
Marie and Steve Bedner have an ever-growing relationship with Baptist Health’s Bethesda Hospital - these local leaders in agriculture and owners of three Palm Beach County farmer’s markets have supported the hospital since 2011.
The Bedners were part of the initial campaign to build Bethesda Hospital West, and have chaired several of its fundraising events. “Now we’re reaching a level where the western community is growing rapidly,” says Marie, who is a former Foundation board member and current hospital trustee. “With the new demand, we need to continue to make sure that the support is there from the community.”
Marie and Steve also support the hospital’s frontline staff involved in patient care, donating fresh vegetables to them since the beginning of the pandemic. “It says a lot about the system that people want to stay there, and they’re well taken care of,” says Marie. “As a business owner, I know that having long-term employees really makes all the difference in the world.”
Albert Jr. and Gail Ashe Dotson
“I want to invest in an organization that continues to give such great care to the community.”
As managing partner at his law firm, attorney Al Dotson Jr. is an expert at presenting an argument – and the case he makes for supporting Baptist Health is a prime example. “You are investing in an organization that will, in turn, invest in the tools they need to provide the best care for people who are in need.”
As both a philanthropic donor and member of Miami Cancer Institute’s operating board, Al honors the legacy of his late father, Albert Dotson, Sr., who served on Baptist Health’s Board of Trustees. “I’m very proud of the contributions my father made. To be able to follow in his footsteps, and at the same time carve my own path, is the best of both worlds.”
Al and Gail are confident that their two children, Ashley and Albert, will also make their mark on South Florida. “There’s a lot to be done, and you have the responsibility to do as much as you can to help move the community forward,” says Dotson.
Dr. David Nateman and Kevin Nateman
“If you want to provide quality, compassion and care, you need to have philanthropy.”
David Nateman, M.D., CEO, and Kevin Nateman, CFO, of Emergent Physicians of South Florida and Urgent Care Physicians of South Florida, give to Baptist Health because of the organization’s focus on excellence. “They’re always on top of innovation,” says Kevin. “The quality of the doctors, nurses and other providers is stellar,” adds his father, David. “It just keeps on driving better and better care.”
Through their giving, the Natemans are carrying on the legacy of David’s father, Richard Nateman, M.D., one of the first physicians in Baptist Hospital’s Emergency Department and founder of the family business. “My father was the most generous man you could find,” says David. “He was always helping people,” adds Kevin. “And that’s exactly what our group is about – helping others. We live by it.”
Both have been inspired to support Baptist Health not only for all the good that it does, but also the satisfaction it brings. “The more you give, the more you get in return,” says David. “And that’s something that always gives you joy.”
“Donors make it possible to invest in the future.”
Simone Cheong, a registered nurse and Magnet program director at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, has been caring for others, both professionally and personally, for decades. She began giving to Baptist Health causes when she started as an oncology nurse at South Miami Hospital in 1995, and later chaired a Baptist Health fundraising program that supported an array of projects across the organization.
Today Simone is a member of Baptist Health Foundation’s Giving Society, supporting the Center for Excellence in Nursing at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. “This center helps fund equipment not otherwise budgeted that can benefit patient care,” she says. “It also helps nurses attend professional nursing conferences to learn, grow and bring back best practices.”
Simone believes in giving to Baptist Health because of the qualities that set it apart: its faith-based mission, high moral and ethical standards, visionary leaders – and always doing what is right for those it serves.
“Baptist Health is a steady source of healthcare the community has come to trust,” she says.