A moment with: Anthony Pagliaro

Photo of Anthony Pagliaro and another adult in a field of flowers.

Anthony Pagliaro serves as the Director of Philanthropy at Dominican Hospital Foundation in Santa Cruz, California. After working for a local telecommunications and networking company, Anthony joined Dominican Hospital in 2014 in a temporary position, helping to facilitate Dignity Health’s “humankindness retreats.” When that project came to a close, he joined the foundation as a development specialist, initially in a financial and database management role.

Earlier this year, Anthony received the Philanthropy Values Award at CommonSpirit Health’s Philanthropy Education Summit 2022 Phillie Awards. This recognition honors a foundation team member who truly embodies CommonSpirit’s mission, vision and values.

Philanthropy is …
Philanthropy is a means to express gratitude, while further enhancing the quality of life of those around us.

Tell us about your current role?
My position encompasses a lot of the foundation’s operations. I’m still in the financial world preparing budgets, making sure we remain on-budget, tracking transfers to the hospital, investments and all those operations roles, as well as fundraising efforts and major gift work. Being part of a small shop, we have our hands on everything!

I've been working with Dominican’s Covid-19 command center team to assist in managing personal protective equipment and providing support to our vaccination efforts across the county. I also have a role as the Policy Advocate Liaison (PAL) for government relations at Dominican. I work with CommonSpirit’s Advocacy Team to address issues the organization believes in, working with members of Congress, senators and their staff to get appointments and meetings anytime we have a position on a bill or legislation that is being proposed.

How do you see your work fulfilling the larger mission of CommonSpirit Health?
On a large scale, my role as PAL enables me to advocate for policy and legislation that better allows our hospitals to provide care, especially to the underserved and disenfranchised, to our communities across the nation.

From a philanthropic perspective, it's amazing what we can do locally. [I enjoy] working with the community to help them give back to something that's meaningful to them and also benefits the community that they're a part of. Santa Cruz is a very tight-knit community, meaning you, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors … we are all in this together. We're all impacted by everything that's around us so being able to be a part of the effort to make this a better community hospital for friends, family and neighbors is very meaningful and, of course, I think fits right into what CommonSpirit is trying to accomplish.

What did it mean to you to be recognized with the Philanthropy Values Award?
Honestly, I was in complete shock. I've developed a lot of friendships here at the hospital and having those I truly care about say something so positive was really special. I’m very appreciative of the national recognition mostly because it highlights the great work we do here and helps put Dominican on the map for all of CommonSpirit.

Is there a specific project or story that stands out to you?
A few years back, we started a fundraising initiative to purchase a new daVinci surgical robot. We had one from 2012 that we helped purchase but we needed a second, newer one to get the hospital to the service level where it needed to be.

Within a year or so of that, my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and went through surgery utilizing the new daVinci robot to remove part of his kidney. To me that is exactly why people give back … because they want everyone in the community to have the best possible care here, in their community. He didn't have to go over the hill to the Bay Area to have surgery. He stayed here where his family could be with him. It meant a lot to me to see how our efforts in the foundation could impact the lives of individuals all around us.

What would you say to someone thinking of entering the health care philanthropy field?
I'd say health care in general is a tough environment to be in but health care philanthropy is amazing. You get to meet people who are incredibly grateful because when they were at one of the most vulnerable points in their life they were taken care of in such a way that they want to contribute to the mission and vision of the organization. We're very fortunate to be able to help people share their gratitude.

What inspires you?
My family is my inspiration. They are the most important part of my life and what gets me up in the morning. My beautiful wife and I have a two and a half year-old daughter and baby boy on the way and that's why we’re here … to make sure they have the best life they can have.

What would others be surprised to learn about you?
Although I can be seen as quiet and reserved, I enjoy adventurous activities like skydiving and zip-lining. A fun fact about me that not many people know is that I am a previous California record holder in deadlift and squats.

When you leave the office, what does relaxation look like for you?
When not in the office, I am working towards obtaining my Masters in Business Administration. When I’m not working on my MBA, relaxation is spending time outside with my family. Whether it's a walk around the neighborhood or hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains, it's very relaxing spending time outdoors. At some point in my life, I hope to get back to being able to travel the world. One of my life’s goals is to travel to every continent.