Key Biscayne Essential: Lourdes Jofre Collett

The philanthropist has a passion for health care and a determination to bring ideas to life.


By Brett Graff


Lourdes Jofre Collett
This year marks the 25th anniversary for the Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute and Key Biscayne resident Lourdes Jofre Collett is celebrating. To commemorate the occasion, she’s organizing an event for the community’s most prominent philanthropists. And it’s here that she’ll give them a first look at the renderings and the maquette — before construction begins — for the vast and cutting-edge facility that’s being planned to house the institute. Because if you’re serious about having a world-renowned facility in your backyard, and you’re ready to contribute the kind of money that’s necessary for innovative practices and for procedures that haven’t even been invented yet, well, you may have to choose the pavilion or armory of medical equipment that will bear your name.

“I can’t wait to show the community what the Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute does to help Miami,” says Jofre Collett. “In fact that’s what I think about 24/7.”

Cuban-born Jofre Collett has been on Key Biscayne full time for 25 years with her husband and their children, currently living in a spacious Grand Bay penthouse. Her philanthropic passion benefits organizations throughout South Florida including MOCA and The Barnyard, a Coconut Grove facility that provides after-school enrichment for children who might otherwise be alone. Her interest in Baptist came after an introduction and lots of research.

“Selfishly, I want the best hospital in South Florida in our community,” she says. “And when I looked into hospitals I learned that Baptist not only had an important discipline, but it was also the largest employer in South Florida. It’s always raising the bar, bringing healthcare to a higher level. And it’s a non-profit, so all the money raised goes towards investing in the organization and attracting the best talent.”

Dr. Barry Katzen founded the BCVI a quarter century ago when he revolutionized health care and became the first physician to link cardiac and vascular medicine, says Sean Kramer, Baptist Health Planning’s development officer. While plans for the new facility are still developing, it will focus on collaborative medicine, research and academic programs, evidence-based medicine and to expand the hospital’s affiliation with Florida International University, says Kramer. Jofre Collett, for her part, has been instrumental in helping to raise the funds. Her efforts include single-handedly organizing a silent auction that brought in $600,000 (in conjunction with a Celine Dion concert that raised $6 million). And she orchestrated a deal with Swiss watchmaker, Audemars Piguet, which now contributes annually and has two luxury timepieces hanging in the hospital.

“Lourdes is a visionary,” says Kramer. “She believes in our mission not only in South Florida but on a global scale. We can have no better advocate or ambassador for the Baptist Health System.”

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Brett Graff is SocialMiami.com's editor-in-chief. A journalist covering money, people and power, Graff contributes to magazines including Maxim, Glamour and Harper's Bazaar. Once a correspondent for Reuters, her nationally syndicated column ran first in the Miami Herald and then in newspapers across the country including the Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star and The State. A former U.S. government economist, Graff's book "Not Buying It: Stop Overspending and Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids" was featured in outlets such as USA Today, US News & World Report, The Today Show, BravoTV.com, and Forbes.com. Graff, a regular on Washington DC's most popular morning show, GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON, is a frequent guest major network television affiliates across the country including CBS, NBC, CW, and ABC.