$1 million gift launches First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care, new Big Bend Hospice facility at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare

Major commitment from First Commerce Credit Union over 20 years provides funding foundation for Big Bend Hospice to expand services through TMH inpatient center to be completed later this year

TALLAHASSEE, FL (June 30, 2023) — A $1 million gift from First Commerce Credit Union (FCCU) kickstarted Big Bend Hospice’s fundraising campaign for a new state-of-the-art center for compassionate hospice care, currently under construction on the third floor of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. In recognition of FCCU’s support of Big Bend Hospice’s mission and the sincere generosity of this gift, the new space will be named the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care.

“We could not be prouder of taking our longtime support of Big Bend Hospice to a whole new level with the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care,” said Cecilia Homison, CEO of First Commerce.

“We are blessed to live in a community where the contributions of Not-For-Profit organizations are valued and supported,” said Bill Wertman, CEO, Big Bend Hospice. “First Commerce Credit Union is a longtime partner to Big Bend Hospice and the community, and we are honored by their legacy gift to our capital campaign. No one ever wants to think about or be in an end-of-life situation, but it is our privilege to support this sensitive and intimate time in people’s lives. This new inpatient unit we are creating in partnership with TMH will provide a beautiful home-like setting where we will give focused, specialized care and comfort to our patients and their families.”

Upon completion of the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare later in 2023, an entire team of Big Bend Hospice skilled in end-of-life care including doctors, nurses, social workers, bereavement, music therapists, and trained volunteers will provide loving hospice care to patients and families who otherwise would be unable to receive it due to their condition.

“This expansion will touch countless more families during one of the most difficult times in their lives by providing access to Hospice’s care, comfort, and inpatient services at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare,” said Alan Neubauer, Chairman of the Board for First Commerce.

This major milestone is being celebrated as part of Big Bend Hospice’s 40th anniversary year serving as the hometown hospice for eight counties in the Big Bend area, with a mission of providing a standard of excellent care for those in our community. Throughout its history, Big Bend Hospice has added and expanded services, and the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care will fulfill its latest goal by offering hospice care and services for patients and families in the most advanced stages of illness who are too fragile to be cared for away from a hospital setting.

“Big Bend Hospice Foundation is honored First Commerce Credit Union has chosen to provide the lead gift in our $5 million Capital Campaign to name the Center,” said Dena Strickland, Foundation President. “The First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care will provide a place of hope and state-of-the-art care for our community.”

The First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care will have eight modern, comfortable patient rooms, one of which can be easily converted to accommodate pediatric patients, and two that will have the ability to isolate patients with airborne diseases to avoid the risk of exposure. Patients being treated at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare who may need hospice services can be transferred to the First Commerce Center for Compassionate Care on the third floor, where they will benefit from the full services of the Big Bend Hospice’s team.

About First Commerce Credit Union

First Commerce Credit Union is an award-winning, full-service, #LocalStrong financial institution dedicated to supporting our communities for more than 80 years. Our not-for-profit financial cooperative serves over 70,000 consumer and business members throughout 40 counties in South Georgia and North Florida and has more than $1 billion in assets. First Commerce has 14 financial centers – Three in Valdosta, and one in Adel, Nashville, Ray City, and Thomasville, GA, as well as six in Tallahassee and one in Marianna, FL. First Commerce offers a full array of consumer and commercial products and services, as well as access to thousands of ATMs nationwide through a credit union network, and mobile banking, mobile deposit, and real-time text/email account alerts. First Commerce’s products include our Power Checking account packed with powerful perks, such as Paying Interest, Early Payday, No Overdraft Fees, and an Automatic Savings Option; our SmartStart Teen checking account as well as savings accounts, money markets, CDs, IRAs, auto loans, mortgages, home equity loans, identity theft protection, and credit cards. Commercial services include Business Checking, Treasury Services, commercial loans, and business vehicle and equipment loans. In addition, First Commerce offers a comprehensive suite of financial planning and investment services through our subsidiary Six Pillars Financial Advisors, and commercial & personal insurance through First Commerce Insurance Agency. Our FCCU Foundation is dedicated to financial literacy including free interactive online and in-person workshops on a variety of topics. For details, visit or call 229.686.7444 or 1.800.533.5772. Insured by NCUA. Equal housing opportunity lender. 

About Big Bend Hospice

Big Bend Hospice has been proudly serving this community since 1983, inspiring HOPE by positively impacting the way our community; Leon, Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla counties; experiences a serious illness or grief – one family at a time. If you would like information about services, please call 850-878-5310 or visit


Kriss Vallese
Director of Marketing
First Commerce Credit Union
(850) 410-3561

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