The Philanthropists: Jay and Patty Baker
Jay and Patty Baker
Former Kohl’s Department Stores president and director Jay Baker and his wife, Patty, a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, came to Naples to enjoy retirement. One thing they never retired from was a dedication to giving back. If running a multi-billion dollar company sounds demanding, Jay’s life now is just as busy. He currently sits on nine boards, and the couple supports both long-cherished causes like The Wharton School, Fashion Institute of Technology and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation (which Jay serves now as chair), as well as many local charities and initiatives. “We like to lay eggs where we nest, and we nest here,” says Patty. “We don’t understand why other people who live here most of the year don’t get involved or support something.” The couple has made a staggering impact on Naples through both time contributions and financial gifts. The Naples Museum of Art bears their names, as does the Patient Care Tower at NCH Healthcare System’s North Naples campus. In 2012, they received the Naples International Film Festival’s Voice of the Arts Award for their arts support, which includes the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and The Naples Players. For Patty—who still finds time to churn out blockbuster Broadway hits like the current revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and a star-studded Glengarry Glen Ross—the arts represent an outlet for escaping life’s harsher realities. “The arts give the community another dimension of life to enjoy,” she says.