By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Elaine Johnson Wold and Gloria Drummond were best friends forever long before the digital symbol, BFF, existed.
Gloria is best known for leading the effort to create a hospital in Boca Raton, an expansive undertaking that paid off with the 1967 opening of Boca Raton Community Hospital, now called Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
Elaine has donated vast amounts of money to charitable causes throughout the city, with her husband, Keith, and in the years after his passing.
Wold, along with the Bay Branch Foundation, have just donated $25 million to BRRH to construct a new, seven-story building on the hospital site that will be named the Gloria Drummond Patient Tower.
“Elaine and Gloria were two determined and compassionate friends,” said Mark Larkin, president of the BRRN Foundation. “Their shared desire to make a difference has had a profound impact on our community.”
He added: “Elaine’s generosity, and the generous support of so many others, has made Boca Regional all that it has become today…something I’m sure that Gloria never imagined, but would make her so very proud and grateful.”
The new tower is part of a planned 278,000 square foot, $260 million transformation of BRRH announced earlier his year. The expansion also includes an enlarged and renovated surgical suite, an improved and expanded surgical intensive care unit and medical intensive care unit, a new cardiovascular intensive care and stepdown unit, as well as an increase in the number of private patient rooms and a parking garage.
Elaine Wold’s gift comes on the heels of $35 million in up-front donations for the hospital’s master facility plan. During a news conference on Jan. 8, Stanley and Marilyn Barry, Christine E. Lynn and Richard and Barbara Schmidt and the Schmidt Family Foundation all announced major donations.
The Barrys are gifting $10 million, Christine Lynn’s contribution totals $15 million and the Schmidts are making a $10 million donation.
“These donors are setting the pace for others in our community in order to ensure outstanding, best-in-class healthcare in Boca Raton,” said Jerry Fedele, Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s president and CEO. “We are tremendously grateful of their support.”
The $25 million for the Drummond Tower is Elaine Wold’s latest gift to Boca Regional Hospital, officials noted. Prior to that, she gave $10 million to construct the hospital’s 37,500 square foot, state-of-the-art Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute, also named in memory of her lifelong friend.
Previously, Wold donated the funds to expand and modernize the hospital’s emergency department, creating the Wold Family Center for Emergency Medicine, which treats more than 50,000 patients annually.
She has supported various patient care initiatives at Boca Regional, and has donated to a number of community and national organizations.
Mrs. Wold’s friendship with Gloria Drummond spanned more than 40 years until Gloria Drummond’s passing in 2011.
The 1962 deaths of Gloria’s and Robert Drummond’s children, Debbie and Randall, galvanized Mrs. Drummond and the community to raise funds to build a hospital locally.
Wold actively supports the Debbie-Rand Memorial Service League, the philanthropic organization created by Gloria Drummond which coordinates its vibrant volunteer services.