Donor Involvement Fuels Community Support

Donor Involvement Fuels Community Support Philanthropy From Wellington Supports Exceptional Care At Bethesda Hospital West

Serving patients in Palm Beach County since 1959, Bethesda Hospital has been at the forefront of healthcare in an area that has expanded rapidly over the past six decades. In 2013, the hospital opened the doors of its second campus, Bethesda Hospital West, to meet the needs of a growing population in western Boynton Beach.

Bethesda Hospital West is an 80-bed, state-of-the-art, medical/surgical and ICU community hospital, with a 24-hour emergency department for adults and children. The facility provides general medical, surgical and intensive care services, as well as diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation. It offers all private rooms; a 10-bed intensive care unit; advanced cardiac CT imaging; and an advanced endovascular and interventional surgical suite for minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures.

“We are very proud of the range of services we provide at Bethesda West,” said Nelson Lazo, CEO of Bethesda Hospital. “But it’s the personal, compassionate care we give our patients that makes this hospital such a valued part of the community.”

Bethesda Hospital West is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 12 hospitals, 25,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians, and more than 150 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

From its inception, Bethesda Hospital West has been designed for growth, and the hospital can eventually expand to become a 400-bed facility in the future. This expansion will help support the wide-ranging healthcare needs of the county’s growing western suburbs in Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, Wellington, Royal Palm Beach and beyond.

Philanthropy has always played an essential role at Bethesda Hospital. Donors have supported the development of new facilities, state-of-the-art equipment for minimally invasive cardiac procedures, COVID-19 emergency response needs, education programs at the Bethesda College of Health Sciences and much more.

“Philanthropic support is absolutely vital for us,” said Barbara James, vice president of development and development support at the Baptist Health Foundation. “As more people move to the county, there is a growing need for premium healthcare. Fortunately, we’ve been able to expand our donor base over the past several years, for which we are very grateful.”

This dedicated community of donors includes Marie and Steve Bedner of Wellington, who are among South Florida’s leading vegetable growers. They are owners of an 80-acre farm that produces about 50 different types of vegetables, as well as three Palm Beach County farmer’s markets.

The couple, who have been supporting Bethesda Hospital West since 2011, were part of the hospital’s initial building campaign.

Marie is a former foundation board member and a current hospital trustee who is an enthusiastic advocate for her community.

“Few things matter more than the health of our loved ones and friends, along with the well-being of the community where we live,” she said. “That’s what prompted us to step forward and fully support Bethesda Hospital West. We need to keep nurturing this first-rate facility and continue to support its mission.”

As any business owner knows, a company’s success is largely based on the dedication of its employees. Marie has been impressed with how Bethesda Hospital West has been able to recruit and retain its exceptional staff.

“In my first year as a trustee, I was asked to give out the five-year pins at the employee appreciation party,” she recalled. “They didn’t warn me ahead of time not to wear heels — I stood there for so long! There were so many team members who had been there five years and longer. It says a lot about an organization that people want to stay, and that they’re well taken care of.”

The Bedners are also helping support the hospital’s caregivers with vegetable giveaway days, which began during the early days of the pandemic and are still greatly appreciated.

Marie believes that the involvement of donors like herself and Steve is having a positive impact on philanthropic support for Bethesda Hospital West, which will continue to build in the future. “It puts a face on the hospital, and people in the community respect that,” she said. “Therefore, they’re happy to lend their support — and that makes a big difference.”

For more information about the Baptist Health Foundation and supporting Bethesda Hospital West, visit, e-mail or call (561) 737-7733, ext. 84445.