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The Power of Your Donations: How Community Health Centers Change Lives

CHI’s 50th birthday year is all about full circle moments. Fifty years ago, an immigrant farmworker and activist Doris Ison had a vision to provide affordable, quality care to all. With the support of donors and the community, Community Health of South Florida, Inc. has been able to achieve this vision, expanding its services and changing people’s lives along the way.


This was especially true during CHI’s virtual White Coat Ceremony on June 23. One incoming resident, Dr. Yeily Hernandez-Mato, had been in a terrible car accident as a homeless 18-year-old. When she was released from the hospital four months later, Hernandez and her mother had nowhere to go. With no money or insurance for care, they went to CHI, where the doctors took care of them, allowing Hernandez to make a full recovery. From that day on, Hernandez vowed to walk in her doctors’ footsteps, a dream that was fulfilled when she finally donned on her white coat. She now has the opportunity to pay it forward to the new generation of CHI patients.


Hernandez’s story is a testament to the power of donations. Every donation to Community Health of South Florida not only helps the organization deliver health care to South Florida but, more importantly, it empowers the community to achieve their dreams and goals.


To listen to Hernandez’s full story on NBC 6 here.

Ocean Reef Community Foundation Partners with CHI to Vaccinate Vulnerable Communities

Ocean Reef Community Foundation is an organization rooted in philanthropy and invested in meaningful charities throughout South Florida. Every year, the Foundation provides support via an annual grants program to distribute funds to nonprofit organizations serving the community. This year, the team at Ocean Reef Community Foundation went even further and partnered with Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) to address and facilitate COVID vaccination for the protection of our residents.

In order to be responsive to the needs caused by the pandemic, the Foundation created the COVID-19 Relief Fund, giving it the opportunity to expand its geographic limitations and include more neighbors than its annual program. For this, it needed a partner that was rooted in the community, so the Foundation reached out to CHI. The result: a $42,848 grant for COVID-19 vaccinations in south Miami-Dade and Monroe counties with a focus on vulnerable populations.

“CHI was the ideal partner for what we wanted to achieve with this particular vaccination grant. The many locations in the Keys and Homestead are perfectly aligned with our interest areas, and CHI is well-positioned to reach those most in need as a trusted messenger,” said Yurianna Mikolay, Executive Director of Ocean Reef Community Foundation. “While we were also funding larger mass vaccination efforts, CHI helped us to complement the big events by reaching those who couldn’t access them for a variety of reasons.”

CHI and Ocean Reef Community Foundation made COVID-19 vaccines available through a series of small to medium-scale vaccination events at Marathon, Tavernier, Florida City, Homestead, Naranja, Goulds, and Perrine. It is also collaborated with other organizations to ensure key neighborhoods are vaccinated. Ultimately, the project allowed CHI to administer 2,258 vaccines to individuals in need.

“The driving force behind this effort was our desire to help remove barriers and get as many people as possible vaccinated, leaving no one behind. No one is really safe until everyone is safe,” said Mikolay. “CHI helped provide the opportunity to many who would not have had it without this grant. We couldn’t ask for a better partner and we’re grateful for CHI’s expertise and reach.”


Message From CEO

The success of our 50th birthday celebrations continues to lift us up and drive CHI forward. We held our first Donor Recognition Event, where we inducted more than 80 donors into CHI’s Giving Societies with cumulative giving between $1,000  to over $300,000.  Thank you to our inductees for believing in CHI. If you missed our event, you can watch it by visiting www.chsiouthffl.org/givingsocieties.

The event was made extra special with the announcement of a $50,000 gift from Direct Relief. Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization active in all 50 states and in 80 countries, dedicated to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. In the past, Direct Relief has been instrumental in helping CHI acquire our Medical Mobile Van and PPE for our medical teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, their $50,000 grant will help CHI continue providing quality care to the South Florida community. We are very grateful to the Direct Relief team for their support.

With less than $1 million away from our goal, our Children’s Crisis Center capital campaign is nearing the finish line – but not before we enjoy a few more festivities! Join us on our special birthday year for a variety of exciting events and fundraising initiatives. On September 25, we’re hosting our Golden Legacy 50th Anniversary Gala, complete with dancing, food, and incredible milestones. On October 7, we invite you to bring your ‘A’ game to our annual Glen Rice Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Biltmore Hotel Golf Course. All proceeds will go toward helping children with severe mental illness via our Children’s Crisis Center. To sponsor or buy your tickets to these events, visit chisouthfl.org/gala or chisouthfl.org/golf.

If you can’t make our events, there are plenty of other ways to give. Participate in CHI’s Happy Birthday Campaign, where every gift received this year, no matter the amount, is recognized on our Birthday Wall at Doris Ison Health Center and on our website. You can also design your own brick with a special message that will be laid at the entrance of the Children’s Crisis Center to welcome all who come for care. To donate, please visit our website at chisouthfl.org/give.



Brodes H. Hartley, Jr.

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Dr. Stanley Sack, Pediatrician at CHI Marathon Health Center

By Dr. Stanley Sack, Pediatrician at the Marathon Health Center

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) appointed a Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) team member to its national board. Eunice Hines, Director of Migrant Health and Outreach Services, said she is excited to serve in this capacity.

Hines has been with CHI since 2007, ensuring the migrant and homeless community receives adequate health and social services.

“As part of the NHCHC board, I will work to improve homeless health care through training assistance, sharing best practices, and uplifting the voices of people experiencing homelessness.”

Hines has facilitated numerous efforts at CHI to assist the homeless community in South Florida. 

Hines oversees CHI’s Mobile Medical Van and outreach team designated to provide greater access to care in the community. The van visits local homeless camps every week to provide primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health services, and other resources. 

“The mobile medical van has reached people experiencing homelessness who have not been to the doctor in years,” said Hines. “Some were diagnosed and treated for chronic illnesses.”

Despite the trying times, CHI was also able to offer COVID-19 testing in homeless encampments within the community and is expecting to do the same with the vaccine distribution.

“We are always looking for different ways to help our community,” said Hines. “We even provided care packs filled with personal supplies.”