$1 million gift launches First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care

A $1 million gift from First Commerce Credit Union (FCCU) kickstarted Big Bend Hospice’s fundraising campaign for a new state-of-the-art center for compassionate hospice care, currently under construction on the third floor of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. In recognition of FCCU’s support of Big Bend Hospice’s mission and the sincere generosity of this gift, the new space will be named the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care.

“We could not be prouder of taking our longtime support of Big Bend Hospice to a whole new level with the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care,” said Cecilia Homison, CEO of First Commerce.

“We are blessed to live in a community where the contributions of Not-For-Profit organizations are valued and supported,” said Bill Wertman, CEO, Big Bend Hospice. “First Commerce Credit Union is a longtime partner to Big Bend Hospice and the community, and we are honored by their legacy gift to our capital campaign. No one ever wants to think about or be in an end-of-life situation, but it is our privilege to support this sensitive and intimate time in people’s lives. This new inpatient unit we are creating in partnership with TMH will provide a beautiful home-like setting where we will give focused, specialized care and comfort to our patients and their families.”

Upon completion of the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare later in 2023, an entire team of Big Bend Hospice skilled in end-of-life care including doctors, nurses, social workers, bereavement, music therapists, and trained volunteers will provide loving hospice care to patients and families who otherwise would be unable to receive it due to their condition.

“This expansion will touch countless more families during one of the most difficult times in their lives by providing access to Hospice’s care, comfort, and inpatient services at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare,” said Alan Neubauer, Chairman of the Board for First Commerce.

This major milestone is being celebrated as part of Big Bend Hospice’s 40th anniversary year serving as the hometown hospice for eight counties in the Big Bend area, with a mission of providing a standard of excellent care for those in our community. Throughout its history, Big Bend Hospice has added and expanded services, and the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care will fulfill its latest goal by offering hospice care and services for patients and families in the most advanced stages of illness who are too fragile to be cared for away from a hospital setting.

“Big Bend Hospice Foundation is honored First Commerce Credit Union has chosen to provide the lead gift in our $5 million Capital Campaign to name the Center,” said Dena Strickland, Foundation President. “The First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care will provide a place of hope and state-of-the-art care for our community.”

The First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care will have eight modern, comfortable patient rooms, one of which can be easily converted to accommodate pediatric patients, and two that will have the ability to isolate patients with airborne diseases to avoid the risk of exposure. Patients being treated at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare who may need hospice services can be transferred to the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care on the third floor, where they will benefit from the full services of the Big Bend Hospice’s team.

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Established in 1940, First Commerce is a full-service, not-for-profit credit union with locations across North Florida and South Georgia. We are a member-owned cooperative and committed to the communities we serve. Our purpose is to empower people to enhance their financial well-being by helping them achieve their financial goals – whether it’s simplifying their day-to-day finances, buying their first car or home, or building a great retirement. When you bank with First Commerce, you get a truly personal experience backed by 80 years of financial expertise.