“Take care of those who come after us,” is one of the last things 12-year-old Miguel B. Fernández remembers hearing before boarding a plane taking him, his parents and his little sister away from their homeland.
He has never forgotten these words, for which his philanthropic life is living proof – Mike has donated in excess of $100 million dollars to charitable foundations over the last 20 years.
“For nearly three decades the Fernández family has been an integral part of our United Way, stepping up to the plate whenever we’ve needed them, from supporting our work with education and veterans to opening up their home to host key volunteers,” Maria C. Alonso, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade, said. “Mike and Constance are true leaders who champion causes and organizations that help thousands of families in our community and beyond.”
Among many other initiatives, the Fernández family also supports the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education and provided the lead gift for the creation of United Way’s Children’s Advocacy Complex. They recently announced an $885,000 gift to United Way Mission United, a program that empowers local veterans and their families. Constance and Mike joined our Million Dollar Roundtable in 2001.
Born in Cuba, Mike currently serves as chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners, L.P., a private equity firm in Coral Gables that invests in healthcare service companies nationwide, currently invested in a portfolio of 21 companies.
During his career, Mike has developed multiple enterprises such as Physicians Healthcare Plans, CAC Medical Centers, Prescribit Rx, CarePlus Health Plans, Navarro Pharmacies, Medical Specialties Distributors, Hospitalists of America, Simply Healthcare Plans and Nutri-Force Nutrition.
Giving back has always been omnipresent in Mike’s life and his desire to make a positive impact on his community is in homage to his parents. “Out of respect for my dad and everything he did for us, I wanted to be relevant. It’s about doing something good,” Mike says. “Success without core values such as fairness, gratefulness, integrity, honesty and a sense of giving back is not worth achieving.”
He defines his very first charitable act as his most successful endeavor, when he was making $500 a month and learned about a little girl who had lost both her legs in a fire. He arranged for a hospital to provide therapy and he purchased an old set of orthotics. He was 23 years old.
And his giving has never wavered.
At 60, he put on his hiking boots and headed off to tread the 508-mile El Camino de Santiago, a spiritual journey from France to Spain, taking pledges for each mile and raising more than $5 million for families with limited resources and children in need of medical treatment. Urged by his wife Constance and friends, he penned Humbled by the Journey: Life Lessons For My Family…And Yours chronicling both his voyage through El Camino as well as his journey from his beloved homeland to his adoptive country. He donated 100 percent of the proceeds to Early Childhood Development.
Constance and Mike are active community volunteers, serving on numerous local boards.
Constance graduated from the University of Michigan Business School. Her professional career is also of entrepreneurial nature where she owned and operated retail clothing stores and restaurants. Then she worked corporately in international finance with VIACOM; and as marketing director at Total Health Choice HMO.
Constance is a trustee at St. Thomas University; a trustee at Ransom Everglades School; and an honorary board member of Mindful Kids Miami and Beaux Arts of Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami.
Mike serves on the board of directors of Mednax and on the board of trustees of the University of Miami, Loyola University Maryland and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He has served on the Georgetown University MSFS board of advisors and on the boards of United Way, Sylvester Cancer Hospital, and others. He has been frequently honored for his business acumen and philanthropic involvements.
Together they have chaired several gala events including the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, among others. In 2011, they opened their home to host United Way’s Tocqueville Reception, honoring Conchi and Tony Argiz.
Mike and Constance have provided and cared for their five children: George, Alex, Michelle, Michael and Cristofer. And, they are blessed with 4 grandchildren: Stella, Daniella, Alexander and Margot.
The Miguel B. Fernández Family Foundation has given more than $30 million to universities, high schools, a hospital and an art museum.