Founded in Melbourne in 1957, by Dr. Jack T. Bechtel, Brevard Heart Foundation was created to provide a loan fund for patients needing cardiac care.

Jack T. Bechtel, MD

Jack T. Bechtel, MD

In 1957 health insurance that covered these new procedures and care was not widely available to the public. BHF met a need that helped pioneer heart health and care in Central Florida. Original funds were provided by the William H. Hodgman estate.

Chartered in 1958 as the Brevard Heart Association, Inc. and was re-named the Brevard Heart Loan Fund in April 1965.

On April 28, 1965, the name was changed to the Brevard Heart Foundation, Inc. Most of the services then were in support of the county health department.

In 1967, Dr. Ralph E. Balch, MD, a Director of the Foundation passed away. He left a sizeable bequest in his will to the Brevard Heart Foundation.

On October 26, 1968 The Brevard Heart Foundation, Inc., sponsored the first pacemaker implant at Brevard Hospital. This included the training of the doctors and nurses. This led to many lifesaving implants.

Education Seminars and Clinics were started in 1965 so nursing students could get the training they needed.

On February 12, 1969 Dr. Eugene Tubbs, MD suggested that we give grants to medical students that were having a difficult time financially staying in medical school. This was done. Some scholarships were given for $2000 in 1970.

In 1989 the Foundation elected to expand its scholarship program by adding nursing scholarships. The “Nancy Meisenheimer Nursing Scholarships,” named after a dedicated nurse who served in Brevard County, were started.

In 1999, the Brevard Heart Foundation received a large grant of $180,000 from the Katherine H. Uhler, estate. This has helped to expand our scholarships.

In 2001, The Brevard Heart Foundation gave $22,000 in scholarship grants. Two scholarships of $5000 each were given in the name of Dr. Jack T. Bechtel, MD.

In 2004 the Foundation board elected to expand its scholarship program to include Physician Assistant Scholarships in recognition of the need for additional Physician Assistants in Brevard County.

In 2014 the Foundation board elected to again expand its scholarship program to include transitional scholarships focused at helping provide individuals with an opportunity to improve their station in life by getting an education in nursing and starting a career helping others in Brevard County.

Our Transition Scholarship, provides full-tuition through the Eastern Florida State College Certified Nursing Assistant program, quickly positioning these individuals to begin a new career path in healthcare that will better provide for them and their families—while they take care of ours.