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Advancing Community wellness in the Coachella Valley

Desert Healthcare District recognizes Donna Craig for 20 years of supporting & funding Coachella Valley nonprofits

Donna Craig stands with colleagues and a Board member outside a building, as they face the camera. Submitted Photo

For two decades, Donna Craig has served the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation in integral roles that helped to advance its mission.


Soon after joining the staff as executive assistant to then-CEO Wayne Soucy in 2004, Craig was recognized for her grant-writing and other skills. In 2005, she was promoted to Chief Program Officer, the position she currently holds.


One of her primary responsibilities in the job is to manage the District's grants program, which has awarded millions of dollars in grant awards to Coachella Valley nonprofit organizations.

   A headshot of Donna Craig facing the camera. She wear dark-framed eyeglasses, a white scooped-neck T-shirt. The background is a marbled purple and blue.

“Donna’s contributions as the senior member of our team have been immensely important to fulfilling the District’s mission," said Chris Christensen, Desert Healthcare District and Foundation CEO. "Through her relationships with the grantees and our Board and staff, she brings an invaluable perspective and experience to everything we do.”


Craig, whose 20th anniversary was June 21, has contributed to many of the District's achievements. Highlights include:

  • Ensuring thousands of valley residents were signed up for healthcare benefits as the Affordable Care Act was implemented.
  • Fostering the launch of The Smile Factory to provide free dental services to valley children in need.
  • Supporting the Desert Health Car, a service that provided transportation to and from medical appointments for valley residents.
  • Establishing the Wellness Park at the northwest end of Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs as a free, public space to enjoy a desert garden and focus on health.
  • Overseeing multiple grants awarded to grass-roots nonprofit organizations to implement a successful COVID-19 response in vulnerable communities.
  • Contributing to the grants process to acquire two mobile medical clinics to deliver essential healthcare services and support to underserved residents.
  • Leading the District and Foundation's Request for Proposals to address both behavioral health for children and their families, and loneliness/social isolation -- each exceeding $1 million.

In a congratulatory letter to Craig, District and Foundation Board Director Carole Rogers wrote: "Your deep knowledge, coupled with your ability to adapt and grow with the ever-changing landscape of the health care industry, has been instrumental in our collective success. You have consistently demonstrated a level of excellence that inspires those around you and reinforces the values we hold dear."


For Craig, one of the most rewarding parts of her job is collaborating with valley partners to enhance programs and services that improve access to healthcare. She has described the local nonprofit community as "compassionate" and "committed to ... making the Coachella Valley a healthy and livable place."


She added, "They bring awareness of need to funders, individual donors, and public entities, and endeavor to implement change."


Read a full interview with Donna Craig about her 20-year career (and counting) with the District and Foundation