Santa Cruz hospital employees receive anonymous thank you with $1 million donation

The effort to aid frontline healthcare workers at one Santa Cruz hospital got a major boost. As a result, Monday malaise may forever be cured at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. This, after staffers, learned an anonymous benefactor is donating $1 million specifically for hospital employees. 

“Yeah, I think it’s just so nice. It’s amazing. A million dollars to just give to the staff as a thank you is something unbelievable actually,” said Amy Louden, a registered nurse.

Administrators say the gift was proposed April 17 by a donor who wants to remain nameless. That person, a long-time friend of the hospital with a history of gift-giving to Dominican, said they want to help frontline staffers immersed in the battle against COVID-19.

“There have been some great contributions made around the country, regarding COVID-19. But this one that’s focusing directly on the employees, we believe is really, at this point, one of a kind,” said hospital Chief Philanthropy Officer David Gagner.

The $1 million donation will first go to the hospital’s foundation, which will write a check to Dominican Hospital. Then the hospital will distribute special checks to each of the 1,350 employees. Everyone from doctors to nurses, technicians to mailroom workers, will receive a check of about $750.

“When my kids get a gift from their grandparents at Christmas I say don’t just waste it on a treat or a snack or something. Do something that you really what to do with it,” said Louden.

She works 12-hour shifts as an RN, and said she’ll try to pay it forward by patronizing county businesses, and donating to a local charity. It’s a nice financial bump for her family of frontline workers who is also raising two teenage boys.

“It’s what you do every day. You don’t think about how much you’re impacting people sometimes. And it feels good,” she said.

Hospital officials say the payroll department will distribute bonus gift checks in the next two weeks.

“This donor really wanted to do something specific for the employees,” said Gagner.

And in so doing, has put smiles on many faces during one of the grimmest times in their lives.