History Of Salinas Valley Health Foundation

In 1941 local businessman and philanthropist Bruce Church called upon other influential community members, including Franklin Cornell, James J. King, T.R. Merrill and Oscar Daley to engage more than 175 civic leaders and spearhead a major fundraising effort to build a hospital for the people of the Salinas Valley. Donating the land where the hospital stands today, Church’s vision inspired action, and more than $300,000 was raised. The campaign was put on hold with the onset of World War II but resumed thereafter. Salinas Valley Health Medical Center was dedicated on March 29, 1953, in memory of the men and women of the armed forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This hospital will soon celebrate its 70th Anniversary. Please click on the photo to learn more about the history of Salinas Valley Health.

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Nearly 30 years later, the Salinas Valley Health Foundation was formed, helping to solidify fundraising efforts and ensuring that the hospital and growing network of related healthcare programs, services and facilities throughout the Salinas Valley would continue to provide the highest level of medical care. Here is a brief history of our Foundation:

1980 Salinas Valley Health Foundation, Inc. (Now Salinas Valley Health Foundation) received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

1988 The Foundation held its first special event, Royal Feast in the Fields.

1990 The first annual Los Paseos de los Rancheros men's trail ride was held at Rana Creek Ranch, a tradition that is still going strong today. The Seeds for the Future campaign also started this year, as did the first annual Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Gourmet Gala and Telethon events.

1991 The first annual Las Estrellas del Valle women’s trail ride was held at the Gavilan Ranch, also growing into a longstanding tradition. The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy Regional Development Showcase awarded Los Paseos de los Rancheros first place prize in special events category this year, and it was also the year of the first Help Us Grow (HUG) employee campaign.

1993 The first annual Cherry's Jubilee was held at Laguna Seca.

1994 The Dream Playhouse Auction was held to support the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Program.

1998 The Foundation launched a $2 million capital campaign to expand and update the Norman P. Andresen, MD Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The Foundation also welcomed the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals program as a fund of the Foundation.

2002 The Foundation launched a capital campaign to renovate the L.M. Tynan Emergency Department.

2004 The first annual Berries and Branches Holiday Home Tour fundraising event was held. Fundraising campaigns were also held to endow a Chaplaincy position at the hospital and place lifesaving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in law enforcement vehicles throughout Monterey County. The Foundation also became licensed to sell annuities.

2005 The William R. Whitney Family Waiting Room held its grand opening, and the Salinas Valley Health Medical Center pharmacy was renovated and renamed the Oreggia Family Pharmacy, both of which were made possible with foundation support.

2006 The Museum of Medical History in the Downing Resource Center was opened with support from the Foundation. Campaigns were launched to purchase a robotic da Vinci Surgical System and further expand the Norman P. Andresen Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

2010 The Tom Merrill Lobby was opened in memory of his longstanding commitment to supporting the health system. A fundraising campaign for the Salinas Valley Health Nancy Ausonio Breast Health Center was launched.

2015 A capital campaign headed by Norm Nelson, MD, helped raise funds to build the Salinas Valley Health Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center. The annual Salinas Valley Health charity golf event was renamed the Founders' Cup Golf Invitational to honor the incredible philanthropy of our Hospital's Founders.

2016 A fundraising campaign to support the new Salinas Valley Health Clinics Diabetes & Endocrine Center was launched, as was the first annual Physician Giving Campaign.

2023 Salinas Valley Health celebrated its 70th anniversary