Building a Legacy with Music

Brothers Stuart and Fred Hodes created a lasting legacy by establishing an endowment to support music therapy at Orlando Health. The gift will allow the brothers to continue positively impacting the lives of Central Floridians for generations to come and it will honor their family’s legacy of serving the Orlando community.

Born at Orange Memorial Hospital, brothers Stuart and Fred Hodes have seen Orlando grow over the years. “We grew up in Orlando when the tallest building was a 13-story brick hotel,” Stuart says of the changes they’ve seen. 

From a young age, their parents taught them the importance of hard work and serving the community. Their father was one of the first real estate developers in Orlando and had a lasting impact on the physical landscape of the city during a time of accelerating growth. At the same time, their mother was quite active in the arts community. While on the boards of the Orlando Pops, the Orlando Ballet and the Orlando Opera, she provided Stuart and Fred with the opportunity to learn from many musical and cultural experiences as they were growing up. 

“Our mother recognized the importance of being involved in the community, and raising sons who also believed that,” Fred recalls. “She provided many opportunities to instill in us her same passion for being an active member of the community.” The brothers have been positively impacting the community of Central Florida ever since. 

Throughout his career, Stuart has educated and coached many business owners and young people in Central Florida. He serves as an invaluable resource and mentor for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs through SCORE. He has also volunteered for many years with Junior Achievement, helping young people to learn basic job and life skills. 

Fred spent the majority of his career as a social worker, making it his life’s work to help others and provide compassion and support for those who need it most. His commitment comes partly as a result of his own life-changing healthcare experience as a young man. An unexpected surgery led to an extended hospital stay; and the compassionate care that he received during that time fueled his desire to dedicate his life to serving others. 

Fred’s passion for helping others grew beyond his career as a social worker. With an enduring appreciation for music, Fred had become quite interested in music – learning to play the piano and guitar, among other instruments. 

Before the practice of music therapy had gained traction in the medical community, Fred was given the opportunity to play music for patients at a hospital. He saw firsthand the benefits of music therapy for patients and the neurological impact it had. “I made rounds and in my second week someone came out of a coma while I was playing,” Fred shares. “That really opened my eyes to the impact that music therapy can have.” 

For Stuart and Fred, this is a service to the community that changes lives and truly embodies who they are as a family. It was through this inspiration that they decided to establish an endowment at Orlando Health to support music therapy throughout Orlando Health’s facilities. 

The gift will allow the brothers to continue positively impacting the lives of Central Floridians for generations to come and it will honor their mother and father’s legacy of serving the Orlando community. 

“It’s important that the funds support the therapeutic, diagnostic and neurological impact of music therapy,” Stuart says. “We hope it will have a quantitative component that will have viable clinical applications – we’d like to see internships, real application and research.” 

Ryan Tonkin, a music therapist at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health shares the importance of psychosocial elements of care like music therapy in the holistic treatment of patients saying, “I always say to patients that the strict science side of treatment at Orlando Health can, and will literally save your life. Music therapy is something that will make staying alive worth it.” 

“People aren’t going to remember our parents because the old guard has died out,” Stuart says. “Our dad passed away in 1976. That was on the cusp of Orlando’s explosive growth. He and my mother were instrumental in so many projects in the Orlando market, and we wanted to ensure that our name was carried forward as a family who cared about this community and the people in it.” 

We are so grateful for the generosity of Stuart and Fred Hodes and their dedication to the city of Orlando and the health and well-being of the community. Their gift will have a lasting impact in the lives of Central Floridians for years to come and their family’s legacy of service to the community will live on, as well.