Florida Blue Dedicates $250,000 to Tampa General Hospital Foundation to Further the Mission of TampaWell Community Garden and Food Pharmacy

Published: May 22, 2024

New Florida Blue outdoor classroom offers hands-on learning opportunities for area residents.


Tampa, FL (May 22, 2024)Tampa General Hospital (TGH) today expressed gratitude to Florida Blue for the health care plan’s generous contribution of $250,000 to support the new outdoor classroom at the TampaWell Community Garden and Food Pharmacy. The outdoor classroom, which will bear the Florida Blue name in recognition of this donation, will host health education programs, cooking demonstrations, shared meals, and other engagement opportunities for Tampa General team members, patients and community residents.

“Florida Blue is an integral partner in our efforts to transform health care at Tampa General Hospital and across our community. Together, we are working to increase access to nutritious foods and create opportunities to engage in physical activity as these actions can improve the overall health of our community,” said John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General. “It’s because of the support of our partners like Florida Blue that TampaWell is having a meaningful impact in our community. Through collaboration with our partners, we’re creating a culture of sustainable wellness.”

Earlier this year, Couris was joined by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, as well as other community leaders and area residents, to cut the ribbon on the new TampaWell Community Garden and Food Pharmacy, both conveniently located at TGH Family Care Center Healthpark, which serves one of the most food insecure neighborhoods in the region.

The TampaWell Community Garden and Food Pharmacy is built on the concept that “food is medicine.” With fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the adjacent community garden, patients have greater access to nutritious foods. Patients at the TGH Family Care Center Healthpark who are diagnosed with prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension or obesity may request a referral from their primary care providers to select nutrient-rich foods from the food pharmacy, free of charge. The new Florida Blue Outdoor Classroom will be a hub for innovation and discovery on the campus, where patients can learn how to grow healthy produce in a sustainable way, benefit from wellness programs and engage with the community in meaningful activities.

“Healthy communities need healthy food. When people don’t have enough food or must choose inexpensive foods with little nutritional value, it can seriously impact their health and well-being,” said Phil Lee, market president of Florida Blue. “As a health solutions company, we are driven by our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health. We (Florida Blue and the Florida Blue Foundation) are proud of our long-standing relationship with Tampa General Hospital and are beyond thrilled to support the TampaWell Community Garden and Food Pharmacy.”

The contribution announced today is just the latest in a series of donations from Florida Blue to the TGH Foundation in support of initiatives at Tampa General. Previous contributions from the health care plan helped create the departure lounge for patients awaiting discharge at Tampa General and supported team member resiliency during the pandemic. Florida Blue is a member of the Corporate Philanthropy Partnership Program, which recognizes the organizations that consistently support foundation initiatives and whose values align with the mission of TGH.

“To provide exceptional care for the communities we serve is not a mission our team can achieve on its own. We rely on the generosity of our partners,” said Frann Leppla, vice president and chief philanthropy officer at TGH Foundation. “We are grateful to Florida Blue for their continued support for our team, our patients and our initiatives to advance health and wellness across the region.”

Florida Blue is one of more than 80 local organizations, including community groups, businesses, social services agencies and health care providers, who are working collaboratively with Tampa General and the City of Tampa in support of TampaWell. While Tampa already has a good foundation for promoting wellness – including a young and growing workforce, a good economic environment, and a solid infrastructure of fitness facilities and programs – data reveals that many area residents can benefit from greater access to health and wellness resources. Roughly 29% of adults in the city are sedentary, about 27% are obese, and 36% have hypertension. TampaWell is working to address the gaps and improve access to essential services and programs. The goal is to create a culture of sustainable wellness and improve the overall health of the community.

The new Florida Blue Outdoor Classroom is located at the TampaWell Community Garden and Food Pharmacy, next to the TGH Family Care Center Healthpark, located at 5802 North 30th Street, Tampa, Florida.

To learn more about opportunities to support TampaWell, reach out to CPP@tgh.org.