Foundation’s $1.8M grant continues support of School Health Initiative

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The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation at the 2019 annual meeting of its board of directors observed the continued funding of the School Health Initiative and ushered in a third decade of support.

The School Health Initiative is one of the foundation’s signature programs in conjunction with the University of Miami. The grant over a three-year period totals $1.8 million.

Since its inception in 2000, the foundation has invested more than $13 million into project, which is run by the UM School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics.


The annual meeting, attended by 40 board members and guests, took place at the historic Coral Gables Woman’s Club (CGWC). Also present were staff and faculty of the University of Miami and Miller School of Medicine, UM School Health Initiative, and CGWC Dental Clinic, which is a recipient of foundation funding.

In a letter presented to the DJTM Foundation Board in advance of the meeting, Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, recognized and personally thanked the foundation for its continued partnership over the past 19 years.

It read: “Your tireless work has improved educational outcomes for at-risk youth by encouraging and preparing them to lead a healthy lifestyle beyond their primary and secondary educational years.”

He stated that the foundation’s generous contributions of more than $13 million to the UM’s School Health Initiative have positively impacted over 10,000 students in nine schools, as well as the feeder schools across the school district, specifically in North Miami.

“And for that I am extremely grateful,” Carvalho said.

He also noted that students are receiving multifaceted and specialized comprehensive services including telemedicine care during school hours and extended summer hours at select schools.

“Your support provides students the opportunity to receive risk assessment, prevention and health supervision, early diagnosis and treatment of acute illness, and chronic disease management such as asthma, type 1 diabetes, anemia, and seizure disorders,” it continued.

Dr. Thomas Mark, outgoing chair of the John T. Macdonald Foundation, also lauded the foundation’s long-time commitment in funding UM’s School Health Initiative.

“This is one of our signature programs and one in which the mission of the foundation in providing medical services to the underserved is demonstrably making a difference in our community.”

Judy Schaechter, MD, chair, Department of Pediatrics at the Miller School of Medicine, agreed. She said that through the School Health Initiative, the foundation is bringing healthcare, dental care, social work, and mental health support to children most in need, families facing obstacles such as health insurance coverage, transportation, language and trust.

“Our partnership — between the foundation, the school system, and UM — has changed lives for generations, helping students stay in school, so that they might reach their highest potential in health and learning,” she said.

Superintendent Carvalho concluded his written remarks by stating: “You are truly shaping the lives of these young children in a meaningful way that also benefits their families and generations to come. So, on behalf of the School Board and our students and families, I thank you.”

The Coral Gables-based foundation is long known for funding community-based organizations and projects in in Miami-Dade County, providing much-needed funding for programs designed to improve, preserve, or restore the health and healthcare of local citizens.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the opening of Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables. The hospital and its legacy of service to the local community is the genesis of today’s Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation.

Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation board members and guests tour the Coral Gables Woman’s Club’s Dental Clinic.

The group of local physicians that founded the hospital honored their departed colleague by naming the foundation after him upon purchasing Doctors Hospital. After the sale of the hospital in 1992, the Foundation continued as a grant-making institution, and has invested over $45 million into the community, via 455 grants to over 300 organizations.

“The foundation is proud to provide grants to local organizations that provide much-needed service to others and contributes to the well-being of our community,” said Dr. Charles Dunn, chair of the Community Grants Committee, “This is the backbone of our foundation.”

In addition to the School Health Initiative, signature initiatives in conjunction with UM include the Department of Human Genetics, and the Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute (BioNIUM).

The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation is located at 1550 Madruga Ave., Suite 215, Coral Gables, FL 33146. For information, call 305-667-6017 or send email to info@jtmacdonaldfdn.org.


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