About the Trust

The Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust (Health Trust) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit public benefit healthcare foundation in Watsonville, California.  The Health Trust was originally incorporated in 1950 under the name Watsonville Community Hospital, a nonprofit acute care hospital.  In September 1998, we changed our name and reorganized our functions from hospital to foundation operations to support local health care needs through grantmaking, program investment, collaboration and convening. Our primary service area encompasses all of the zip codes in the city of Watsonville, plus Freedom, Pajaro and Aromas.

The Health Trust leases office space on the campus of Watsonville Community Hospital, which is now owned and operated by a for profit health care system based in Brentwood, TN.

Our mission is to improve the health and quality of life for all people of the greater Pajaro Valley, especially the most disenfranchised.

We do this by working “upstream” (before health problems occur or worsen) to help prevent future disease through education and disease prevention, as well as “downstream” (where problems require immediate intervention or treatment) to meet the most acute need for access to quality, culturally responsive services. In all our work, we collaborate with community members and agencies and rely on data to guide our decisions. In this way, we aim to pass on stronger systems and healthier lifestyles to future generations of Pajaro Valley residents.

With a solid infrastructure and strategic plan in place, the Health Trust has worked tirelessly to expand its role in:

  • addressing countywide and regional health planning efforts;
  • advocating for resources to support local needs;
  • encouraging collaboration in the areas of diabetes, oral health and access to care for the underserved; and
  • educating local residents and donors about the mission and goals of the Health Trust.

The Health Trust's mailing address is 85 Nielson Street, Watsonville, CA 95076. (While the Health Trust conducts business in close proximity to the for profit hospital, the two organizations are completely separate and autonomous. The Health Trust operates under a clear mandate to exclusively benefit nonprofit organizations and programs providing health care services to Pajaro Valley residents. This mandate specifically excludes the funding of "for profit" organizations such as Watsonville Community Hospital).

The Health Trust is governed by an independent 16-member board of directors. The board was configured to reflect both the gender and ethnic diversity of the community. Board members provide broad experience in health care, finance/investments, education, agriculture, fund raising, community service and administration. The Health Trust is managed by a staff of local professionals.

The assets of the Health Trust, currently at sixteen million, have been invested to generate earnings to help fund the operations of the Health Trust, as well as the Health Trust's grant making and program support. The Health Trust's strategy to invest rather than spend down the assets is a prudent one, which allows us to provide a continuous source of funding to help meet health care needs in the Pajaro Valley for generations to come.

As a public charity, the Health Trust strives to build its assets to continue to meet the community's growing and changing needs in perpetuity. The Health Trust forms funding partnerships with individual donors, businesses and regional, state and national foundations in order to have the greatest possible impact on the quality of life and health in the Pajaro Valley, now and in the future.

The Health Trust welcomes gifts (cash, bequests, appreciated securities, insurance and real property) that help to secure a healthy future for the Pajaro Valley and to fund current programs and grantmaking efforts.

Strategic Program Goals

In July 2015, the Health Trust Board of Directors reviewed and updated its strategic program areas as follows for the strategic planning period of 2015 – 2020:

Strategic Program Areas

  • Diabetes and Contributing Risk Factors
  • Oral Health
  • Access to Care
  • Health Professions

Target Populations

  • Children and Youth (0-21)
  • Farmworkers and their Families
  • Low-Income, Underserved and Undocumented Individuals

For more information, visit the Grantmaking pages.

Other Programs & Services of the Health Trust

In addition to grantmaking and fund raising, the Health Trust provides:

  • In-kind grants for community conference space. The Health Trust is committed to serving the community by encouraging dialogue about important health related issues. To this end, the Health Trust offers the use of its large community conference room to eligible nonprofit health and social service agencies. Preference is given to organizations that use the space for workshops, seminars, retreats and other meetings that focus on improved health and well-being. Guidelines for use of the community conference room can be found on the Health Trust's web site or by phoning Debbie Ukestad, Executive Assistant, at (831) 761-5639.
  • Diabetes Health Center. The Health Trust Board of Directors, recognizing the burgeoning epidemic of diabetes in our community, identified diabetes as one of its major health initiatives. One of the Health Trust's strategies for addressing the threat of diabetes is the operation of the Diabetes Health Center (DHC), a community-based diabetes self-management, education and prevention program, providing direct services to the community.
  • Regional Diabetes Collaborative. The Regional Diabetes Collaborative (RDC) is a partnership of some 40 members convened by the Health Trust in 2002 to support, promote and coordinate efforts to prevent and manage diabetes in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties.
  • Central Coast Oral Health Collaborative. The collaborative is made up of partnering organizations that are committed to improving the oral health of low-income and underserved populations on the Central Coast.