Get to Know Allison Niday

Foundation Board President 2021-23 

Allison moved to Santa Cruz in 1974 and attended junior high and high school in Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz. She graduated from Cal Poly State University with a BS in Journalism and has spent the last 30+ years practicing public relations for numerous Silicon Valley and high technology companies. Both of her children were born at Dominican Hospital and her family members have all experienced multiple levels of care from the medical teams there.

She was involved in the Scotts Valley School District for many years, serving as a member of the different PTAs, including president. Allison was elected to two terms as a School Board member and served as a Delegate representing Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and San Luis Obispo County school districts at the California School Board Association. She was a founding member of the Santa Cruz County School Boards Association, bringing representatives of all ten Santa Cruz County school boards together on a monthly basis.

Allison then headed the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation for several years. She’s been involved in high school sports as a Booster Club member and team mom for both football and cheer, recently co-chairing the Scotts Valley Sports Complex fundraising effort. Together with her parents and husband, Allison is also a long-time supporter of Hospice of Santa Cruz.

Allison and her husband Paul will celebrate 35 years of marriage in April and have two grown children, Christopher and Lauren. She enjoys golfing, hiking, skiing and traveling in her spare time and is an avid SF Giants fan.

What was your first connection to the hospital and the foundation?

Having lived in Santa Cruz since I was in junior high, I’ve had a long connection to the hospital, from knowing many of the doctors and nurses there, to having both my children there. All of my family members, myself included, have been treated there in some capacity and many of my friends and neighbors served on the Foundation or as volunteers at the hospital.

How did you come to serve on the foundation’s board?

Dr. Michael Alexander, MD, is a long-time friend and served on the board. During his tenure on the Nominating Committee, he reached out and asked if I was interested in serving on the board. Having recently wrapped up a long tenure as a volunteer in the Scotts Valley Unified School District, I thought the group would be a good variation and allow me to continue to give back to the community.

What have you learned as a result of your board service and connection to the hospital?

First, it’s been an extremely fulfilling experience from many perspectives. The Foundation staff have always been great – smart, hardworking, creative and a joy to get to know. The Board members themselves represent a wide swath of our community and contribute so much, not just to the hospital, but to the entire Santa Cruz area. I’ve enjoyed getting to know new people and feel that the collective brainpower enables the Foundation to do so many great things. It’s also been great really getting to know how advanced our services are at the hospital. Even with the many times I’ve been a patient, or a family member has been, there was still so much I didn’t know. I really enjoy being an ambassador for the hospital within the community and sharing what I know about our top-notch hospital.

What role does gratitude play in your philanthropy and service?

When I was young, my parents were always volunteering – at our schools, with our sports teams, and with Hospice of Santa Cruz. I often joined them at events and helped out, and when I had school age children, I got very involved in our school district. I firmly believe in putting your money where your mouth is – if you see that you can make a difference or solve a problem, then you should be signing up to help. I think giving back, wherever and however you can, is so good for you. I’ve been lucky to be able to focus on things that are very important to me – public education and now, health care and wellness.

What excites you most about the next five years for the foundation and hospital?

First, I think we must continue to promote the quality of our staff and our services, as well as the medical technology we’ve integrated into the hospital. We’ve been a best kept secret and I’m excited to be working with our team to aggressively promote how great Dominican is. I’m also really excited about the Women of Wellness effort in broadening care for women in Santa Cruz. Our new Wellness Center is just gearing up and I am looking forward to seeing our community engage in all it will offer. The idea of a place that keeps us all well so we don’t need to visit the hospital is brilliant. Finally, our biggest effort, and probably the most exciting, is going to be the hospital modernization. It is the biggest renovation the hospital has seen in its 80 years of existence and will require broad community engagement.