ICYMI: First Lady Casey DeSantis Reaffirms Florida’s Commitment to Israel with Additional Donations
MIAMI — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis held a roundtable at Mt. Sinai Medical Center to discuss ongoing efforts to support Israel and make awards through the Volunteer Florida Foundation and Hope Florida Fund to support organizations that are providing services to the Israeli and Jewish communities in the state. At the event, the First Lady highlighted health care supply donations for Israel that have been made by Florida medical providers.
“I am proud to live in a state with a Governor that sees an issue that is having a deep impact on Floridians and takes immediate action,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Through the incredible support from the health care community and many others, we have been able to gather thousands of donated supplies to send to our friends in Israel. I am also proud that our state agencies have been able to help organizations here in Florida that are providing important services to those impacted by this tragic war on Israel. We continue to stand with the people of Israel and the Jewish community.”
“Israel is one of Florida’s greatest partners, and Governor DeSantis has given the Agency the green light to deploy every available resource to support their needs while they are under attack by Hamas terrorists,” said Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida. “When the Israeli health system began accepting donations, the Agency worked with Florida’s health care providers to meet that call. Under the Governor and First Lady’s leadership, the state quickly coordinated shipments of critical medical equipment into Israel.”
First Lady DeSantis also highlighted the flights that the state has coordinated to bring Americans home from Israel. These flights have been done in partnership with Project DYNAMO, a veteran-led nonprofit based out of Tampa that has supported rescue and evacuation efforts both domestically following Hurricane Ian and abroad, to bring Americans home from Israel. To support Project Dynamo’s continued work, the Volunteer Florida Foundation is awarding $1,000,000 to the organization.
“Thanks to the decisive action of Governor DeSantis, the Division has coordinated the return of over 500 U.S. citizens home,” said Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Kevin Guthrie. “It’s an honor to join the First Lady along with Florida and Israel leaders to highlight the work being done on the ground. Moving forward, we will continue supporting these individuals by providing resources including crisis counseling, transportation, and lodging.”
"Volunteer Florida's heartfelt and generous contribution and gift to Project DYNAMO will translate into countless American lives being rescued and shielded from the ravages of disaster and war,” said Bryan Stern, CEO and Founder of Project DYNAMO. “This act of kindness resonates deeply within our mission at Project DYNAMO and our team of veterans and civilians, fueling our unwavering patriotic dedication to the nation. DYNAMO embodies the time-honored American code of 'No man left behind.' Whether war or disaster, wherever there are Americans in trouble without help, DYNAMO will be there. We cannot express enough gratitude for this support and recognition helping us create a safer tomorrow for every innocent American caught in the crosshairs of global peril."
Additionally, the First Lady awarded $40,000 to support organizations in Florida which are providing much-needed resources to both Israel and the Jewish community. These organizations are:
- The Goodman Jewish Family Services – Joshua’s Path Disability Services
- Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options – Children’s Ability Center
- The Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation
- Soref Jewish Community Center
“The events that transpired in Israel are heartbreaking and we are so grateful for the swift action taken by Governor DeSantis to activate resources to support those impacted and to bring Americans home,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “I am so proud that the Department of Children and Families can play a part by ensuring crisis counseling services were available for those returning home and ensuring that follow-up counseling resources are readily available. Our Department stands ready to support Israel and our residents into the future.”
The First Lady’s announcements follow efforts coordinated by the State Emergency Response Team under the Florida Division of Emergency Management to bring nearly 700 Americans back home who were previously unable to leave Israel. Additionally, Florida has sent two cargo flights with medical supplies and clothing items to Israel to help with response efforts.
The Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Education, and the Board of Governors coordinated with health care partners including UF Health, Sarasota Memorial, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Tampa General, BayCare, Encompass Health, Jackson Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins, Advent Health and Baptist Health to gather donations of medical supplies to send to Israel. These donations included supplies such as electric hospital beds, evacuation stretchers, infusion pumps, patient monitors, ECG machines, fetal monitors, splint holders, Portable CT Machines, CT Ventilators, surgical mesh, casts, portable radios, and more.