Generous gift to the Lee Health Employee Relief Fund inspires hope and healing

November 18, 2022 Lee Health Foundation announced the organization received a donation of $50,000 from The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation for the Lee Health Employee Relief Fund. The gift will support the healthcare heroes who cared selflessly for their patients during and after Hurricane Ian, separating them from their families, experiencing devastating loss, and still putting their patients first.

Just last week, Lee Health Foundation announced a $250,000 donation from The Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation, who identified the opportunity to make a significant impact for healthcare and nursing professionals after a series of unprecedented challenges and demands, referring to COVID19 and, even more recently, the devastation of Hurricane Ian.

“When The Marieb Foundation reached out to us, we knew without hesitation we too wanted to help these heroic nurses,” commented William Villafranco, co-trustee. “Nurses fill a vital role of compassionate care in the communities they serve. That often requires them to put others’ needs before their own. This was a significant opportunity in a time of such great need to care for the nurses of SWFL who care for countless others, regardless of the challenges.”

Virginia Toulmin started her career as a public health nurse, providing prenatal and postnatal care to young mothers. Her sense of adventure would then lead her to serve as a stewardess nurse with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, before going on to become the chairwomen of Central Pharmaceuticals.

Lee Health is the largest healthcare provider between Tampa and Miami, is the largest employer in Southwest Florida, and is proud to have a nursing workforce of more than 4,000 nurses and CNAs amongst 15,000 employees and 2,000 physicians. At Lee Health, nurses care for more than 1,400 patients across five hospitals every day, and many thousands more at ambulatory and outpatient sites across the region. Recruiting and retaining nurses is one of the top priorities of the health system.

“The outpouring of support for our team members is humbling, and we are honored to bring these gifts to them in their time of need,” commented Chris Simoneau, Chief Development, Marketing and Communication Officer for Lee Health. “We still face illness, we still face a mental health epidemic, and now more than ever this community needs our nurses and healthcare professionals in our facilities caring for our vulnerable. The impact of gifts like the one from The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation will keep them physically, mentally and emotionally strong, ready to answer the call.”

The Lee Health Employee Relief Fund will provide them with immediate and long-term support in the areas of housing assistance, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, grants, mental health counselling, continual professional development and training, higher education and certifications, enhanced technology, and community partnerships to continue investing in the Southwest Florida nursing profession.

Visit to donate to the Lee Health Employee Relief Fund and inspire health, hope and healing for your local healthcare heroes and the community they serve.

About The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life and improving conditions in the three areas of: women and girl empowerment, disadvantaged youth, and performing arts. It looks for opportunities to assist grantees to achieve financial sustainability and, in many cases, integrate educational opportunities into their programs.

About Lee Health Foundation

Lee Health Foundation raises philanthropic dollars on behalf of Lee Health including Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital, and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The Foundation provides financial support for many service areas including the Regional Cancer Center, Lee Health – Coconut Point, The Rehabilitation Hospital, Shipley Cardiothoracic Center, Community Health Clinics and Golisano Children’s Hospital Specialty Clinic. Over the past two years, the Foundation has distributed more than $53 million to Lee Health to support its lifesaving mission. Please visit or call (239) 343-6950 for more information about the role of Lee Health philanthropy in southwest Florida.