SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (February 13, 2023) – Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has awarded nearly $200,000 in grants to five local nonprofit organizations through its annual Community Grants Program. Each nonprofit was recognized for its commitment to providing innovative resources and support to improve quality of life for the Santa Cruz County residents most in need.
“Our guiding mission with the Community Grants Program is to ensure we support the most underserved among us, and it couldn’t be done without collaboration,” said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “Each of these organizations has a proven track record of affecting change both meaningful and measurable for the most vulnerable members of our community”
Grants were awarded to the following organizations:
- Dientes Community Dental Care is on a mission to create lasting oral health for underserved children and adults in Santa Cruz County and neighboring communities. For more than 30 years, Dientes has worked to ensure that cost, insurance, income, race, language and transportation do not prevent people from visiting the dentist. 96% of Dientes patients live at or below the federal poverty level. Dientes is the largest local provider of dental care and aims to provide dignity through dentistry. “The funds from Dominican Hospital will be used to support oral health care for people who are experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz County,” said Kristyn Glenn, Associate Director of Development & Communications. “In collaboration with Housing Matters and the Homeless Persons Health project, Dientes will work with our partners to help patients establish a dental home. The goal is to improve oral health and reduce preventable oral health emergencies with increased access to care.”
- Food, What?! is a youth empowerment and food justice organization that engages in relationships with land, food and each other in ways that are grounded in love and rooted in justice. They provide meaningful space where youth define and cultivate their empowerment, liberation and well-being. Every year, Food, What?! hires more than 75 youth into their core programs and reaches more than 500 youth through their community events and education series. “These funds will support our core programming, specifically our Spring Internship Program,” said Francisco “Paco” Estrada, executive director of development and communications. During the internship, youth engage in organic farming, cooking activities, eating in community and wellness/empowerment workshops.
- Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower is dedicated to building cultures of care, respect, and safety for everyone, everywhere. The grant from Dominican Hospital is helping provide online workshops that teach boundary setting, advocacy and other social-emotional skills that participants can use right away. “All of us at Kidpower are so very grateful for the generous support of Dignity Health,” said Erika Leonard, community education director. “The grant is already at work providing Santa Cruz County residents among the most vulnerable to the most detrimental impacts of the pandemic with skills for taking charge of physical and emotional safety for themselves and their loved ones.”
- Teen Kitchen Project invites young teens (ages 14-18) into commercial kitchens in Santa Cruz County to prepare medically tailored meals that are packaged and delivered to people in the community experiencing a medical issue such as cancer, congestive heart failure, complications of diabetes and other diagnoses. Volunteer drivers deliver more than 1,600 meals per week and each client receives seven meals per delivery, at least once per week, directly to their home. This grant allows Teen Kitchen Project to serve clients experiencing food insecurity and critical and chronic illness. “Through the support of Dignity Health, we are able to provide reduced sodium and diabetes friendly meals for clients struggling with food security and critical and chronic illness,” said Angela Farley, executive director of Teen Kitchen Project. “This support keeps clients nourished and often reduces complications and rehospitalizations. Thank you, Dignity Health!”
- Monarch Services serves survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, as well as their families, and offers the only emergency confidential shelter in Santa Cruz County, as well as wrap-around case management, therapy, housing support and a 24-hour bilingual crisis and support line. Monarch also engages in violence prevention work with youth, outreach to vulnerable populations, including the farmworker community, and provides emergency housing to women leaving custodial settings so they are not released into homelessness and placed at higher risk of victimization. “The goal with this grant is to provide a continuum of care services to survivors of human trafficking through a collaborative case management model,” said Kalyne Renda, CEO of Monarch Services.
Since the early 1990s, Dominican Hospital has provided over $3 million in grants to local community organizations dedicated to improving health and wellness in Santa Cruz County.