Collaboratory presents Patricia Dobbins with prestigious John W. Sheppard Award

Posted 3/27/24

Dobbins is a senior advisor for Collaboratory and has been involved with the foundation since 2009.

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Collaboratory presents Patricia Dobbins with prestigious John W. Sheppard Award


FORT MYERS — Collaboratory recently presented Patricia K. Dobbins the prestigious John W. Sheppard Award.

Named after a founder of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the John W. Sheppard Award is given to outstanding trustees who have given selfless dedication to humanity and made significant contributions to the Foundation. Past recipients include John Sheppard, David Lucas, Peter Kleist, Arnold Sarlo, Frank Bireley, Jim Nathan, Sam Galloway, Jr., Tom Smoot, David G. Robinson, Bill Frey, Gene Solomon, Dawn-Marie Driscoll and Jay Brett.

Dobbins is a senior advisor for Collaboratory and has been involved with the foundation since 2009. She has practiced Professional Nursing for 45 years in a variety of settings. Her experience includes working for the Veteran’s Administration; both urban and rural hospital settings; as a Nurse Educator for 15 years in a public school district and as an entrepreneur owning her own consulting/case management business.

She previously served as the Administrator of the Health Departments in the rural counties of Hendry and Glades. She was appointed to the leadership position after 18 years as the Executive Community Health Nursing Director. Dobbins received her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree from NOVA University.

Following retirement, Dobbins has provided consultative services to small businesses, rural organizations and regional nonprofits. She mentors young people who want to have a career in health, especially first-generation college students.

“Serving in Hendry and Glades Counties was challenging, yet the most rewarding time in my career,” said Dobbins. “The people, the values and the communities are the best in Florida and they will forever have my heart and I will forever advocate for them.”

She serves on numerous local, regional and state boards, committees, task forces and coalitions as an advocate and voice for rural uninsured or underinsured and rural health disparities. She has served in leadership roles for the Florida Association of Public Health Nurses (FAPHN), the Florida Public Health Association (FPHA), and received a Public Health Nursing Leadership Award. She is an alumnus of the University of South Florida Public Health Leadership Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows program and the National Rural Health Association Fellows program.

Dobbins has served as an Adjunct Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University and is on the School of Nursing’s Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Florida Rural Health Association and serves as a trustee for the Healthy Start Board, Hendry/Glades Mental Health Board and the AHEC Board.

“We are so excited to relaunch the annual presentation of the John W. Sheppard award,” said Dr. Dawn Belamarich, president and CEO of Collaboratory. “It is a testament to our commitment to John and his legacy in helping create this foundation. Pat was our natural first choice because of her tireless dedication to serving those who live in underserved areas of Southwest Florida.”

About Collaboratory

Collaboratory is a regional community foundation with an evolved mission committed to coordinating the solving of Southwest Florida’s major social problems by 2040. Not alone, but with everyone—the entire community working together across all five counties: Lee, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte and Collier.

Collaboratory provides community leadership, raises and coordinates funding, and disburses funds to organizations that are helping solve the problems our donors and the community have identified as priorities. Collaboratory also provides capacity building with training and resources for regional partners. Given the complexities of the social challenges in our region, Collaboratory ensures we are all working together and that every generous donor achieves the biggest impact with their funds. By using and sharing data to track progress, we ensure that donor dollars are best invested to move the needle on improving social issues.

Connection and collaboration are at the heart of our mission. Since 1976, we have made over $120 million in grants to individuals and organizations across the region to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations. It is upon that legacy of a commitment to community we will collectively achieve our 2040 goal. To learn more and get involved, call 239-274-5900 or visit

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