Straight Talk - "Altruism"

February 13, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

So what makes our Southwest Florida community idyllic, a place where others yearn to be?

For openers, the weather is great. And the tax structure helps give us a fertile economic climate. But there’s another (occasionally overlooked) reason why this region of America is so wonderful—altruism. Our citizens—from young professionals to retirees—are involved in our community, want to see it improved, and work to make it better.

Last week was a perfect example. A group of 50 people, mostly newcomers to our area, spent part of a day in the Telford Building on the NCH downtown campus learning about the region’s healthcare, as part of this year’s Greater Naples Leadership (GNL). We have hosted about 15 such GNL classes over the years. The five stated goals this year were: (1) to review governmental regulations about healthcare; (2) understand local capabilities; (3) appreciate the coordination among caregivers; (4) address wellness and prevention; and (5) discuss future opportunities and challenges.

Previous GNL members have yielded a host of NCH Board members including Ned Stedem, who led our Finance Committee for many years and made a significant contribution as a gracious and kind mentor for many of us on the leadership team. Other GNL participants have been strong NCH supporters and generous donors. Most recently, a wonderful couple, Craig and Pat Jilk, surprised us before the holidays with a generous gift to name the new Neonatal ICU Nursery. This same humanitarian couple has contributed mightily to other worthy charities in our community, providing housing for the less fortunate.

Leadership Collier (LC) is another example of a program bringing leaders from local organizations together to develop a community of active civic leadership. Organized by the Chamber of Commerce about 25 years ago and strongly supported by NCH since inception, this diverse group delves into topics ranging from business to agriculture to healthcare. Among the 40 members is typically one from NCH. The members range in profession from investment advisors to human resources executives to the new CEO of the Chamber. One of LC’s most important events is its “health day,” in which we and other local healthcare providers play a large role.

There are other sterling examples of community involvement. The Growing Associates Program of Naples and Youth Leadership Collier are two additional programs sponsored by the Chamber and supported and/or hosted by NCH. Another is Leadership Florida, a statewide program in which NCH senior team members, including yours truly, have been privileged to participate.

It’s never been more important to be involved, be a leader, contribute, and make the world a better place. At so many levels, with our own 1,200 NCH volunteers, 4,000 colleagues, 660 physicians, and almost a half million citizens in our catchment area, we have helped contribute to a wonderful and caring community that is built on altruism. Thanks to all of you, we all enjoy where we live and have a better chance at living a longer, happier, and healthier life.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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