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SMA Healthcare Receives $1M Gift to Expand UF Research Partnership and Enhance Program Services

SMA Healthcare Receives $1M Gift to Expand UF Research Partnership and Enhance Program Services

November 2nd

The SMA Healthcare Foundation (SMAHF) is excited to announce receipt of a $1M transformational gift from local businessman and philanthropist, Gale Lemerand, to support SMA Healthcare services and initiatives, as well as expand the Larry & Joan Kelly Scholarship Fund. 

The gift was announced publicly at the joint, annual meeting of the SMA Healthcare and SMA Healthcare Foundation Boards on November 1st.  A portion of the funds will be used to help SMA further its relationship with the University of Florida’s Center for Research.  “We are excited to have the opportunity to expand our work with SMA and to enhance the quality of life of individuals with substance use and related disorders and their families,” said Dr. Sara Jo Nixon, Distinguished Professor in Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, Neuroscience at the University of Florida’s Center for Addiction Research & Education.

Funds will also be used consolidate program services on the west side of Volusia County and enhance services at SMA’s WARM program and DeLand Men’s Residential Treatment Center.  $50,000 of the donation is designated to the Larry and Joan Kelly Scholarship Fund to expand this opportunity to students at more local colleges and universities, and SMA staff members, who are pursuing or advancing their careers in the healthcare field. 

“Over the years I’ve been witness to the amazing support SMA receives from this community and watched the organization grow and expand to try to meet the overwhelming needs of those living with addiction and mental health issues.” shared Mr. Lemerand.  “I’m happy to be able to contribute to SMA and look forward to watching the organization continue to thrive.”   

Ivan Cosimi, CEO of SMA Healthcare, shared, “As SMA has expanded to include services in Volusia, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Marion and Citrus Counties and we have seen the overwhelming needs of those individuals and communities we serve.  This gift will go a long way to helping support SMA and assist in meeting those needs, but its impact will expand beyond the counties we service with the added emphasis on research and education.”