NGHS Foundation Honors Late Gainesville Philanthropist with Giving Society

Published: Monday, September 12, 2022

As a tribute to the life and legacy of Nell Whelchel Wiegand, a renowned and generous Gainesville native who supported both the community and Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS), NGHS Foundation announced the new Nell Wiegand Legacy Society to honor those supporting the health system with planned gifts. This honor will allow Nell’s legacy of caring for our community hospital to continue even after her death.

More than 75 years ago, Nell worked to prepare the community for the opening of what was then known as Hall County Hospital in 1951. After the hospital opened, she served on the Hospital Authority and then the Northeast Georgia Medical Center board. In 1986, she became the Founding Chair of the organization now known as the NGHS Foundation, which is dedicated to financially supporting the health system’s four hospitals and other services.

“As the founder of the NGHS Foundation, Nell Wiegand has made an immeasurable impact on our success today and the future we strive for,” said Chris Bray, president and chief development officer of the Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation. “We are proud to recognize her dedication and vision through the naming of the Nell Wiegand Legacy Society and resolve to carry her name forward as we celebrate so many others who are creating their own legacies with their thoughtful and generous planned giving.”

Nell provided an example to future generations, living a life of service by using her gifts and talents to improve the community and the lives of those who live in it. Through the future efforts of those joining the Nell Wiegand Legacy Society, her impact will live on.

“Before he passed away, my father, Dr. P. F. Brown, Jr. – the first surgeon in Gainesville – asked his cousin and my godmother, Nell Wiegand, to take care ‘his hospital,’” said Pierpont “Pepper” Brown, MD, general surgeon at NGMC and chair of the NGHS Foundation. “She spent 60 years deeply involved in the system up to her passing in 2011. By the establishment of the Nell Wiegand Legacy Society, she is able to continue caring for our hospital in perpetuity.”

To learn more about the Nell Wiegand Legacy Society visit

About Northeast Georgia Health System

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 1 million people across the region through four hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has campuses in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega – with a total of more than 750 beds and more than 1,200 medical staff members representing more than 60 specialties. Learn more at