VMC Foundation announces $10 million County of Santa Clara-funded grant program for local nonprofit organizations based in Santa Clara County.

Following a vote by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the Valley Medical Center Foundation announced today that it will be the organization charged with administrating and providing ongoing oversight to a new grant program that could be a lifeline to local nonprofits organization struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Nonprofit Resiliency and Sustainability Program will grant $10 million to a select number of Santa Clara County-based nonprofit organizations that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide funding to build more sustainable organizations focusing on racial equity. The County of Santa Clara funds the grant through the Federal Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds under the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We take this responsibility very seriously,” said Michael Elliott, President and Executive Director of the Valley Medical Center Foundation. “When organizations that provide emergency food or housing assistance face financial hardship, it has a real impact on the health of the community. We see it as our duty to help.”

Nonprofit organizations eligible for assistance must be 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) tax-exempt organizations. Priority will be given to organizations operating in and/or serving populations and communities located in Qualified Census Tracts that reflect the geographic and cultural diversity of Santa Clara County. Funding will be available in two categories – “Resilience” and “Sustainability.” Organizations that experienced a negative economic impact because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible under the “Resilience” category. The “Sustainability” category will fund organizational change to strengthen racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in the provision of services in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Race-based health disparities exact a terrible cost on our community,” said Elliott. “The pandemic made that very clear. This opportunity aligns with our mission to improve the health of our community.”

The maximum grant award for both categories is $150,000, and eligible organizations can apply and receive both if selected. Applications will be reviewed by an independent, non-conflicted panel convened by the VMC Foundation using criteria established by the County of Santa Clara. Organizations will begin receiving funds in Spring 2023.

A Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) will be made public no later than November 15, 2022, with applications due Dec 13. The VMC Foundation will host several online sessions for organizations to learn more and better understand eligibility criteria. Additional information will be available at www.vmcfoundation.org in the coming weeks.

“Our goal is to make this a process as straightforward as possible,” said Elliott, “We will have a dedicated team in place to provide support during the application process and will continue to partner and support grantees through the end of the program in September 2024.”

About the Valley Medical Center Foundation

The Valley Medical Center Foundation (VMC Foundation) is an independent community-driven 501c3 nonprofit organization founded to support and protect Silicon Valley’s most vital public healthcare institution – Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital & Clinics. In partnership with SCVMC, the VMC Foundation raises philanthropic dollars to improve existing services, pioneer new models of care, and advance the cause of highest quality healthcare for all.


Tribute to Heroes Honoree: Gary Guthart, CEO Intuitive

Valley Medical Center Foundation to honor Gary Guthart, CEO of Intuitive, for extraordinary leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic

Respected business leader will be recognized at “Tribute to Heroes” annual gala event for his service to Santa Clara County’s public, safety-net healthcare system.

$1 million fundraising drive launched in his honor to support local vital healthcare programs serving Santa Clara County’s most vulnerable residents.


The Valley Medical Center Foundation is proud to announce Gary Guthart, CEO of Intuitive, as the “Tribute to Heroes” Annual Gala 2022 Honoree. As CEO of Intuitive and as a member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Board of Directors, Guthart was instrumental to an unprecedented effort by local companies to protect healthcare workers during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sunnyvale-based company and the Intuitive Foundation coordinated a multi-industry effort to source and fabricate personal protective gear (PPE) locally and directly manufactured more than 105,000 face shields for area hospitals. Thanks to his leadership, over 5 million units of PPE were donated to the VMC Foundation, and $20 million was raised to support patient care and vaccinations.

“I want to thank the Valley Medical Center Foundation for this recognition and the opportunity to spotlight its critical role in providing essential healthcare and public health services that are so desperately needed in our community,” said Gary Guthart. “While I appreciate serving as the face of this recognition, the efforts that we recognize today were built on the generosity of Intuitive employees, the vision of Intuitive Foundation President, Dr. Catherine Mohr, and above all, the work of frontline healthcare workers, including our hospital customers and their care teams, who bring life-saving minimally invasive care to their patients.”

Intuitive (Nasdaq: ISRG), headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is a global technology leader in minimally invasive care and the pioneer of robotic-assisted surgery. As part of our mission, we believe that minimally invasive care is life-enhancing care. Through ingenuity and intelligent technology, we expand the potential of physicians to heal without constraints.

Intuitive brings more than two decades of leadership in robotic-assisted surgical technology and solutions to its offerings and develops, manufactures, and markets da Vinci surgical systems and the Ion endoluminal system.

“Gary gave us the two things we needed most during the first months of the crisis; hope and resources,” said Michael Elliott, President & Executive Director of the VMC Foundation. “He and his team stepped up big time with donations and set the example for all others to follow. We are truly honored to recognize Gary at ‘Tribute to Heroes,’ and hope many others will join us in celebrating his impact.”

Each year, the VMC Foundation recognizes one local leader for their extraordinary impact on the health and safety of Santa Clara County’s most vulnerable residents. The 2022 edition will take place on September 10 at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose, California. The VMC Foundation has launched a $1 million fundraising drive to support vital health programs and local healthcare workers battered by 2+ years of pandemic response in conjunction with the event.

“We believe the best way to honor Gary is to keep pushing our work forward,” said Elliott. “If his leadership has inspired you, we encourage you to make a gift in his honor and celebrate with us on September 10.”

The Valley Medical Center Foundation is an independent community-driven 501c3 nonprofit organization founded to support and protect Silicon Valley’s most vital public healthcare institution – Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital & Clinics. For more information about the event, please contact Julie Surjan (Ott) at julie.ott@hhs.sccgov.org or visit www.vmcfoundation.org/tribute.


Announcing VMC Foundation Tribute to Heroes Honoree, Gary Guthart

a photo of Chris Wilder speaking at an event

Chris Wilder steps down as President and Executive Director

Long-time leader of the VMC Foundation to focus on his recovery, will stay active with the organization. Foundation COO Michael Elliott has been appointed to role.

SAN JOSE – The Valley Medical Center Foundation announced today that President and Executive Director Chris Wilder has stepped down from the role he has held for the past 18 years to focus on his health and recovery. Wilder suffered a massive stroke in March 2021 and has been on medical leave since that time. His decision culminates a remarkable career where he became one of the most successful nonprofit fundraisers in Silicon Valley, raising more than $100 million to support the County of Santa Clara’s public healthcare system.

“I feel so lucky to have worked with a great group of leaders at all levels of the County of Santa Clara, and the health and hospital system,” said Wilder. “Also, it’s been a true privilege to have worked alongside the amazing team at the VMC Foundation.  I have learned so much from them, and from those who have served on our Board of Directors.  While it wasn’t my intention to ‘test drive’ the VMC’s world-class Rehabilitation Center, I couldn’t be prouder of what we all built, and I am incredibly thankful for the fantastic care I received during my almost six-month stay.  For now, I will continue to work hard on my recovery and look forward to more adventures during this next chapter in my life.”

Replacing Wilder will be VMC Foundation Chief Operating Officer Michael Elliott.  Elliott has been with the Foundation since 2007 and the Acting Executive Director since March. His appointment took effect on January 1, 2022.

“This is a bittersweet moment for sure,” said Elliott. “Chris has been a friend and mentor for over two decades. It’s been a privilege to work alongside him all these years. His example will continue to inspire our work on behalf of Santa Clara County’s best-in-the-nation public healthcare system, and for the cause of high-quality healthcare for all.”

Wilder joined the VMC Foundation in 2004 during a challenging period for the organization.  The year before his arrival, the Foundation raised just over $100,000 and had no full-time staff. Wilder’s task was a complete rebuild of the organization.

Within the first years, he led two multimillion-dollar capital campaigns to complete the Parisi House on the Hill in Gilroy and purchase a new linear accelerator for the Sobrato Cancer Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). In 2008, he led the campaign for Measure A, generating $840 million to build the Sobrato Pavilion, the new adult hospital building at SCVMC and a major health center in downtown San Jose.

“Chris’s contributions to our public healthcare system are truly historic,” said Dr. Dennis Low, Chair of the VMC Foundation Board of Directors and retired SCVMC physician. “You can’t walk more than five minutes on the campus of Valley Medical Center (VMC) without seeing evidence of his impact.”

Wilder is especially proud of the Foundation’s work in support of the County’s response to COVID-19.  Over $25 million in funds, PPE and medical supplies were donated to the Foundation during the pandemic, providing vital resources to frontline workers through every stage of the crisis.

“Many people wrongly assume that Chris Wilder is a mere mortal,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor.” It is an easy mistake to make. But some of us know his secret identity of ‘Make-It-Happen Man.’ Chris possesses a supernatural ability to help turn ideas into vision, vision into plans, and plans into reality. He was instrumental in getting more than $2 billion of public funding for VMC. Our County is better because Chris Wilder chose to devote his career to our community’s health.”

“Chris is the reason the capacity of the Valley Medical Foundation has so significantly scaled up over the past 18 years,” said John A. Sobrato, founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Sobrato Organization. “I am sorry to see he is retiring. He will surely be missed.”

“It has been an honor and privilege to work with Chris over the years in support of the VMC Foundation and SCVMC,” said Phuong Nguyen, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospitals & Clinics.  “Chris is an outstanding leader, public servant and a fervent believer in high quality healthcare for all.”

She added, “I wish to extend my most sincere congratulations to Michael Elliott as the new President and Executive Director of the VMC Foundation. There is no one more qualified and capable than Michael to lead the Foundation. I look forward to continuing our partnership in service of our community.”

Wilder plans to stay involved with the Foundation in the future, a role that Elliott welcomes.

“Chris knows the VMC Foundation will always be his home,” said Elliott.  “If you’ve missed him asking you for a donation, don’t worry. He’s still got your number.”

The VMC Foundation and the Wilder family will host an event later this year to commemorate Wilder’s many contributions to the organization. Check back at www.vmcfoundation.org for details.

Michael Elliott (right) has succeeded Chris Wilder as President & Executive Director of the VMC Foundation.

President and Executive Director Chris Wilder Hospitalized, Interim Executive Director named by Board

Statement by the Board of Directors

March 8, 2021

The Valley Medical Center Foundation announced today that President and Executive Director, Chris Wilder is on medical leave after having a stroke this past weekend. Wilder is currently hospitalized and receiving care. The Foundation is in direct contact with the Wilder family and will provide further updates on his condition as they become available.

Wilder has led the Valley Medical Center Foundation since 2003, and is a passionate advocate for high-quality healthcare for all. Since March of 2020, he has been integral in the County of Santa Clara’s COVID-19 response, securing over $30 million in funds and donated supplies to protect healthcare workers, expand testing, and support vaccination efforts.

“Chris is an extraordinary leader and an inspiration to all of us,” said Dennis Low, M.D., Chair of the Valley Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors. “Our thoughts are with him, his wife Kate and his entire family as we hope for his speedy recovery.”

VMC Foundation Chief Operating Officer Michael Elliott will serve as Interim Executive Director until further notice. Elliott has been with the Foundation since 2007. In his current role, he is responsible for communications, ethics, programs and events, and since last March, the COVID-19 donation center at the Foundation headquarters. He previously worked for Working Partnerships USA and City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley.

“We are fortunate that the Foundation has an extraordinarily deep and talented team,” said Low.  “Chris always set a high standard and Michael and the team are prepared to meet it.”

The Foundation requests privacy for the Wilder family during this difficult time. Please direct any inquires to the VMC Foundation Office. For more information, visit www.vmcfoundation.org.

Why I Give: Mary Drottz, RN

Mary Drottz is an RN and works in quality improvement at St. Louise Regional Hospital—that means she sees every step of patient care and works to make it safer. With covid-19, it was vital to ensure that staff were protected as well.

With more patients coming in with the new virus, Mary says, “we had to put new systems into place, creating protocols that required everyone to abide by them. They were a lot and you had to be careful, but the nurses did such a great job.” Staff were exhausted by the work, scared for patients and for themselves.

“I saw what the VMC Foundation did for all staff, giving PPE but also providing boosts to staff morale —from the frontlines to those of us in the back offices. It takes all of us to keep things going,” she said.

The team has worked hard, for months now. As we head into the cold season, Mary is hopeful that the plan they built will hold together. “We haven’t had any cross contamination and we haven’t seen staff infected by patients.”

Mary reflects, “You can’t build a house and you can’t support a health system without a strong foundation. And you don’t want a community without a hospital. I donate because it all goes back to the community.”

Thank you, Mary and thank you to all of the staff throughout our health system who fight to keep us safe.

Why I Give – Keeping Rose On Her Feet

At 89 years old, Rose lives a full and vibrant life. She’s a life long resident of the Valley, and is part of a community she loves. Several years ago, when her husband had an accident — a woodshop project gone awry — he received care at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. So Rose has been a kind donor ever since.

She didn’t know much about the county health system. She donated because she cares about her community and she was glad there was a county hospital for everyone.

One day in March of this year, while standing in her kitchen, Rose’s vision blurred and she started feeling dizzy, then… she lost consciousness. She was having a terrible reaction to new medication.

When she opened her eyes again, she was startled to be in a hospital room at SCVMC. She had fallen on the kitchen floor, face first after blacking out. Her lip had split open, she had badly injured her face, and likely had a concussion. The paramedics had taken her to the only hospital in the region with a top-level trauma center to ensure her care.

But what Rose talks about most eagerly is the people who cared for her. “My two doctors were wonderful. They were so nice and I felt so cared for. They provided me outstanding quality of care,” she said. Having never been inside the hospital she was extremely impressed.

Now when Rose recounts her injury story to friends, she makes sure to emphasize the great care she received at SCVMC. “Most people don’t know!” she says.

These days, Rose spends most of her time safely in her home with her husband. But once a week they go take socially-distanced folk dance lessons which they do outdoors. Back on her feet in more ways than one, Rose is proud to be a loyal donor to the VMC Foundation now knowing firsthand the quality of care that all patients receive in the Santa Clara County Health and Hospitals system.

Colorful installation transforms courtyard at SCVMC Women & Children’s Center

Montalvo Arts Center alum Leah Rosenberg debuts color-inspired “Like a Multivitamin” at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center thanks to National Endowment of Arts grant

SAN JOSE – The outdoor courtyard on the 3rd floor of the Women & Children’s Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is a special place.  Situated between Labor & Delivery and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, it’s a natural gathering spot for families celebrating the birth of a child. It’s also a space for staff to take a break from their busy day or get some sunshine without leaving the building.

First opened in 1998, its’ glass, concrete and metallic look was beginning to show its age – and did not fit with the building’s new identity as a Women & Children’s Center. Revamping the space was a priority for hospital planners.

Thanks to the work of San Francisco-based artist Leah Rosenberg, in collaboration with SV Creates and the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, a process to beatify the courtyard was initiated in 2018. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, “Like a Multivitamin” was completed in early October. Using vinyl film in 30 colors and short, haiku-based messages, Rosenberg has brought dramatic transformation to the space.

Click here to see the space and meet the artist.

The incorporation of haiku, much like color, offers a sense of a specific moment in time – a special event, a change of season – something that encourages one to pause, take notice, to come to attention. The courtyard, now full of color, provides an opportunity to share a moment or experience of awareness by including colors that produce emotions in us; helping to lift the burden and stresses of the daily experience, whether visiting just once or returning every day

The colors were not picked at random, as the “multivitamin” name suggests.  The various palettes speak to the range of emotions that visitors may experience while there; from celebration to sorrow.  As a multivitamin provides various sources of nourishment, each color can respond to different emotions. The installation is designed such that each moment of the day, each season creates its own dynamic visuals. That combined with the alchemy of light, shadow, color and reflection ensures the space is not only enchanting but also continuously evolving.

“It was important to me that the installation could be experienced from various vantage points,” said Rosenberg. “Walking around it, sitting in its glow, meditating on one, and then another, taking them all in at once; gazing down from above or looking up from below.”

Completion of this installation could not have come at a more opportune time, when hospital staff are under unprecedented pressure and stress due to the physical and psychological demands of serving at the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rosenberg’s color-filled inner courtyard, provides a space of sanctuary; one that fosters mindfulness, rest and resilience for caregivers and patients alike.

The project is the result of a collaboration with SV Creates, the Montalvo Arts Center – where Rosenberg was a participant in their highly regarded artist residency program, and the Valley Medical Center Foundation.

“SV Creates believes in the healing power of the arts and the transformative qualities of color,” said SV Creates CEO Connie Martinez. “Leah’s installation is inspiring and will bring joy and healing to patients, visitors and SCVMC staff for years to come. This installation could not have happened without the collaborative leadership of SCVMC, VMC Foundation and Montalvo Arts Center.  And we are so excited to have been part of it.”

Angela McConnell, Montalvo Arts Center Executive Director said, “We are thrilled to be a part of such a successful and inspiring partnership, and a model for future collaborations, that engages artists to create spaces that ignite curiosity and lift the spirit.”

“I haven’t stopped smiling since I’ve seen the completed project,” said VMC Foundation Executive Director Chris Wilder.  “Anything that brings joy and comfort to visitors and staff is important, especially during this time when any visit to a hospital building comes with a bit of extra stress.”

“Like a Multivitamin” is part of a larger effort to transform public and family areas in the Susan B. Wilson Women & Children’s Center into a vibrant and welcoming space for children and families.  In partnership with SV Creates, additional art exhibits and interactive installations are planned as the building undergoes major renovations.

To see video images of the courtyard and an interview with the artist, visit https://youtu.be/SR4tnNJeJx4


For more information visit www.imaginevmc.org.

STEMBoost in action with online workshops

WHY I GIVE – Students of STEMBoost

Before Covid-19, STEMBoost was a locally organized student group who were excited by science, technology, engineering, and math. They organized in-person workshops to spread interest in the STEM fields, hoping to inspire young talent.

When Covid-19 emerged in the community, STEMBoost re-organized their workshops to online platforms (like many of us had to). They continued to raise funds through these workshops but this time, they decided to donate those funds to Covid-19 relief efforts.

One of their co-founders is 17 year-old David Smith. In May, David contacted us and said that STEMBoost had raised $4,000 and they wanted to donate it to the VMC Foundation.

Then in October, David called us again. They raised another $6,000 from summer workshops that registered students from all over — even internationally! They made another gift.

When we talked with David, he put it simply. Covid-19 has been a disruptive event—and for young people, it has been THE event of their lives. They’ve seen the chaos of scrambled school activity, remote learning, and how this has affected student learning. They wanted to throw their efforts behind the fight against this deadly disease.

David says “I am happy we did our part in this global pandemic to support our local hospitals. This effort has been in honor of students in our community who have been highly impacted by the effects of covid disrupting their education. I thank all students who attended our workshops and everyone who helped us raise these funds.”

STEMBoost has shown us how deeply affected all lives are by the pandemic. These students have also shown us the power of young people to care for each other and their community by supporting efforts to fight Covid-19. We’re so thankful for the inspired actions they took. And we know that they will make huge impacts on their community in the years ahead!

Google donates 49,000 face shields for local healthcare workers

Will protect frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers throughout Silicon Valley.

“We’re feeling lucky,” says Valley Medical Center Foundation CEO Chris Wilder.

SAN JOSE – Responding to a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, the Valley Medical Center Foundation announced today a donation of 49,000 face shields designed and assembled by teams at Google. The shields will be deployed at hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and other high-risk environments throughout Santa Clara County during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Google is stepping up in our most trying time in Santa Clara County,” said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “Thanks for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our community.”

Google developed the face shields in consultation with physicians and nurses at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospitals & Clinics. The device is made of clear plastic, foam and elastic – materials that are in short supply given the high demand for PPE, and is intended to shield the face from liquid spray and droplets. Google was able to tap its global supply chain and source needed materials, and devoted a team of engineers to design and fabricate locally.

“Bottom-line, these face shields will help save lives,” said Valley Medical Center Foundation CEO Chris Wilder. “We need to keep the people on the frontline of this crisis safe and Google’s donation is helping us do just that.”

The donation caps off a month of remarkable generosity from other Silicon Valley-based companies, small businesses, faith organizations, student groups and community organizations that have donated over 2 million items of PPE to the VMC Foundation. But to Wilder, the Google donation is special.

“They put really talented people on this, worked with our experts and delivered what we needed quickly,” he said.

Face shield distribution will be coordinated by the County of Santa Clara Emergency Operations Center.

COVID-19: the first 30 days.

30 days.

That’s how long we at the Valley Medical Center Foundation has been working this crisis – nearly 24/7 (and hats off to the many County staff who have been at it for twice as long).

The VMC Foundation of March 17, 2020 no longer exists. On that day, for at least the foreseeable future, we became a new organization.

Our marching orders were clear; we needed to raise (lots of) money and material to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients at our local hospitals. We had no time to waste. A national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other materials meant we were vulnerable. As we watched the horrors of Italy and New York unfold (and before that Wuhan, Iran, and elsewhere), we thought of our friends and colleagues at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, O’Connor Hospital, and St. Louise Regional Hospital who would be putting their lives at risk.

We resolved that they would not go into that fight alone.

That day, we launched a major campaign to collect PPE from the community and raise funds to buy whatever else was needed. Within hours, our phone lines were jammed and our office was full of boxes.  It has been that way ever since. That’s because big-time leaders stepped up to help, like Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, and many, many others.  Churches, small businesses struggling on their own to survive, student groups, and some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies came through with donations big and small.

The numbers speak for themselves. In 30 days, we have:

  • Secured pledges of $5,873,210 in donations;
  • Received over 2,554,869 donated items of personal protective equipment to support healthcare workers Valley-wide;
  • Purchased $1,998,876 in urgently needed materials, supplies, and services including ventilators, rapid testing equipment, and tele-health technology;
  • Sourced and purchased PPE worldwide, bringing in tens of thousands of additional N95 masks, disinfectant wipes, gowns, and more;
  • Worked with DIYers and some of the Valley’s most prominent companies to design and fabricate 100K+ face shields locally;
  • Engaged a mighty army of sewers to produce over 10,000 hand-made masks for healthcare workers;
  • Coordinated delivery of 17,340 donated meals and coffees to tired (and hungry) healthcare workers;
  • Supported the launch of the Field Respite Center @ Santa Clara Convention Center with essential supplies like clothing, toiletries and other personal items for patients;
  • Secured heavily discounted hotel space for healthcare workers who must self-isolate from their families; and
  • Launched mobile staff shower facilities at SCVMC.

None of this would have been possible without your support and the extraordinary leadership of the County of Santa Clara and SCVMC, O’Connor Hospital and St. Louise Regional Hospital staff.  We are particularly grateful to Board of Supervisors President Chavez, SCVMC CEO Paul Lorenz, Public Health Officer Dr. Sarah Cody, Dr. Jennifer Tong and Nari Singh at the County Emergency Operations Center, the terrific SCVMC Logistics team, and many, many others.

In normal times, this would all be a cause for celebration. But we aren’t there yet. This crisis is far from over, and while we are so grateful for your support, We Still Need Your Help. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors (6 feet apart, of course) and tell them what you have done — what we have done together. Ask for their support in money and material. Consider making another gift yourself.

At the end of this sadness and devastation, let’s look back knowing that we did everything we could to end it. Together.