Fostering a healthy and equitable community for all in the Pajaro Valley
Years active: 22
Leadership: DeAndre’ James, Executive Director
Their story: The nonprofit Watsonville Community Hospital was sold in September 1998, and the proceeds were used to create the Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley, the region’s first locally-governed 501(c)3 nonprofit healthcare foundation. The largest program the organization operates is the Diabetes Health Center, which works to provide education and medical nutrition therapy to help residents self-manage their disease and avoid chronic complications. Other work includes the Mesa Verde Gardens program, which supports and operates community gardens with an aim at enhancing self-reliance and reducing food insecurity among low-income families.
Fundraising focus: The Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust’s biggest program is aimed at preventing and reducing complications associated with diabetes. It operates the Diabetes Health Center in Watsonville, where people can access nutrition therapy and learn about diabetes self-management, among other services. The nonprofit health foundation, whose mission is to improve the health and quality of life for all residents of the Pajaro Valley, also distributes grants to local organizations and awards scholarships to students pursuing careers in health professions.
Wellness is about more than just a healthy body — it means having equitable access to resources, activities and choices that help to prevent illness and improve quality of life.