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Dignity Health Dominican Hospital Donates $207,942 to local nonprofits in 2024

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (February 14, 2024) - Dignity Health Dominican Hospital announced today the distribution of $207,942 to community based organizations across Santa Cruz County. Dominican Hospital’s grant program helps to improve community health and health equity, and enhance local service systems, via restricted charitable contributions for defined projects. 

“By providing necessary support, we enable these organizations to implement impactful programs, offer essential services and create lasting positive changes in lives,” said Dr. Nanette Mickiewicz, President & CEO, Dominican Hospital. “By supporting initiatives that align with community values, we contribute to the creation of a stronger, more resilient community where everyone can thrive.” 

Dominican Hospital funding for local nonprofits is part of Dignity Health California's statewide total of $5.2M that was provided via community grants to nearly 100 organizations. 

"Dignity Health's annual community grants program is a testament to our dedication to improving the health and well-being of Californians," shares Julie J. Sprengel, California Region President, CommonSpirit Health. "By awarding over five million dollars in grants to nearly 100 non-profit partners, together, we are addressing some of the more challenging public health issues, such as food and housing insecurities, domestic violence, and mental health."

Every three years, Dignity Health and health system partners conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment in each county to determine the most pressing health priorities.

  • Family Services Agency of the Central Coast - Suicide Survivors Outreach Team, $42,942 

Suicide Outreach Team (s) (SOT) is comprised of trained loss survivors who visit homes to provide support to families and loved ones who have recently lost someone to suicide. SOT (s) seek to reduce the trauma associated with loss by allowing the survivor to process his/her/their feelings about the suicide as they are ready, normalize the complicated grief that accompanies the suicide and provide mental heath support/counseling referrals resources. Program will measure the number of participants who seek additional support. SOT will serve suicide survivors; an individual who experiences a high level of self-perceived psychological, physicaland social distress for a considerable length of time after exposure to the suicide of another person (Jordan & McIntosh, 2011, p. 7.). As many as 25% of suicide survivors indicate they are struggling with their own thoughts of suicide following a loss (McMenamy et al., 2008). SOT will offer services throughout Santa Cruz County. In 2022, there were 33 individuals who died by suicide in SC County. 

  • Family Services Agency of the Central Coast - WomenCARE Cancer Support Services, $35,000

This project aims to offer holistic assistance to women battling cancer. We will offer emotional support groups, arrange transportation for medical appointments, provide help with daily errands, and host educational forums. The project targets women undergoing cancer treatment, with a focus on Latinas in low income households, addressing their emotional and practical needs. By offering a network of support, we aim to alleviate emotional distress, enhance treatment adherence, and foster a sense of community. This project will serve women with all cancer types, as well as their family and loved ones, within Santa Cruz County, with a specific emphasis on economically disadvantaged Latina individuals dealing with cancer mainly in the Watsonville area. 

  • Food, What - Youth Empowerment through Sustainable Agriculture and Culinary Arts Training, $50,000 

FW improves the economic stability of marginalized youth in Santa Cruz County by providing a paid empowerment model that includes our Spring Internship, Summer Job, and Fall Project Management programs. Each offers job training, healthy food access, and supportive community through sustainable agriculture, culinary arts, workshops, and community projects that build relevant job, life, and health-building skills. It will reach 90 youth. Impact will be measured using surveys, interviews, feedback, and staff observation. FW serves youth struggling to overcome the long legacy of intergenerational injustice, poverty, and racism. FW focuses on Watsonville youth who suffer disproportionately from educational barriers, lack of living wage jobs, trauma, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and compromised health. 

  • Kid Power - Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower, $30,000 

The proposed $30,000 project will address the lasting mental health and safety impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, exacerbated by recent natural disasters, that are driving many to a breaking point. It will equip at least 400 people with prevention/intervention skills to build resilience, and take charge of, safeguard, and act more effectively in the interest of their emotional, mental, and behavioral health and well-being. It will measure observable changes in knowledge and BEHAVIOR using 7 performance indicators. We target populations whose economic vulnerabilities as well as social determinants of health place them at higher risk for poor health outcomes, including: 

  • BIPOC families and fieldworkers striving to parent in the context of racist and anti-immigrant sentiment • People with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ gender-diverse people 
  • Victims and those at high-risk of domestic violence and sex trafficking 

Geographically, the project covers communities ranging from Davenport to Boulder Creek to Watsonville.

  • Teen Kitchen Project - Medically Tailored Meals Program, $50,000 

The project will provide 90,000 home-delivered, medically tailored meals to 800 individuals in Santa Cruz County who are in crisis due to a life-threatening illness. Clients are referred by healthcare providers. Professional chefs train employee/volunteer teen chefs in preparing, cooking and packaging meals for delivery. A Registered Dietitian evaluates meals to ensure they are in accordance with DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) guidelines and are diabetes-friendly. Meals are delivered for 12 weeks. All clients served reside in Santa Cruz County. Characteristics of clients served are as follows: 

  • Socioeconomic status of clients: 84% low-income (59% on Medi-Cal and 25% less than 200% below poverty level) 
  • Diagnosis of clients: 26% diabetes, 19% cancer, 13% severe neurological disorder, 12% recent major surgery, 8% congestive heart failure, 6% COPD, 4% Alzheimer’s and Dementia and 12% other eligible diagnosis. 
  • Age of clients: 74% seniors ages 60+; 26% adults ages 19-59; 0% youth ages 18 and under.

Dominican received a number of compelling grant applications. The grants the committee wanted to fund exceeded the community grant project. The following grant is being funded outside of the community grant program and is being funded out of the hospital's community health budget. 

  • The Diversity Center of Santa Cruz - The Diversity Centers' Health and Wellbeing Initiative, $35,000 

Through our Well-Being Center, the project will address the mental health crisis within the LGBTQ+ community by providing counseling services, support groups, well-being activities and trainings to increase the possibility of resiliency within individuals and inclusion within our wider community. At least 200 individuals will receive services and at least 70% will report improved mental health, better access to LGBTQ+ services and increased knowledge on how to create safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ people. This project focuses on LGBTQ+ people within Santa Cruz County. We work with LGBTQ+ people across the lifespan from youth (11 - 18 years old), young adults (18 - 24 years old), and seniors (60 years and older). We also focus services on trans people as well. According to our demographic survey, 60% of the people we serve identify as low income; 51% reported having a mental health illness; and 97% identified as LGBTQ+ with 55% identifying as trans or non-binary. 


About Dignity Health

Dignity Health is a multi-state nonprofit network of 10,000 physicians, more than 60,000 employees, 41 acute care hospitals, and 400-plus care-centers, including community hospitals, urgent care, surgery and imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality, and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. Dignity Health is a part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit health system committed to advancing health for all people and dedicated to serving the common good. For more information, please visit our website at

Publish date: 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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