Created by the state of California in 1948, Desert Healthcare District is the parent of Desert Healthcare Foundation. The Foundation was originally formed in 1967 to support the activities of Desert Regional Medical Center and had its own separate board of directors. The hospital was a nonprofit hospital. In 1997, the Directors of the District voted to lease Desert Regional Medical Center to Tenet Health Systems for 30 years, resulting in the hospital becoming a for-profit hospital. The Foundation essentially lost its job of fundraising for the hospital.
The focus of the Foundation turned to operating several community programs, such as The Smile Factory (a mobile dental clinic offering free dental screenings and treatment to elementary schoolchildren); The Desert Health Car (free door-to-door transportation service to and from non-emergency medical and health appointments); and The Suzanne Jackson Breast Cancer Fund (available for those individuals who did not have health insurance or the ability to pay for breast cancer screenings and diagnostic services). In 2003, the Foundation Board was dissolved and the District Board assumed responsibility.
In 2004, the development and incubation of two health needs programs were added under the Foundation:
The Wellness Park – a five-acre fitness park (owned by the District) adjacent to the hospital and designed to encourage wellness, conservation, and mental well-being; and HARC (Health Assessment Resource Center) – a central resource for information and statistics about the health status of the community and its residents.
In 2005, the Board of Directors gave the direction to spin-off all Foundation programs to either existing nonprofit entities or to new start-up nonprofits. Operation support for usually one to two years went along with the spin-off.
The Desert Healthcare Foundation up until recently played a minor role overseeing a small grant program called the Social Services Fund. The Social Services Fund assists financially underinsured or noninsured patients at local hospitals and Cancer Centers (Desert Regional Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center and Lucy Curci Cancer Center) with emergent healthcare needs and services determined by hospital case management counselors. The fund can only be used for District residents.
In 2012, the Desert Healthcare Foundation revised its Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation to allow for support of healthcare and wellness services and programs across the entire Coachella Valley. The roles of the Foundation now include fiscal sponsor and incubator of new collaborative projects.
Foundation Programs & Projects (06-2015)