Published on September 14, 2021

Montage Heath Foundation receives $5 million gift to fund The Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence


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MONTEREY, Calif. — Local philanthropist, Sally Lucas, has donated $5 million to support Montage Health Foundation’s Physician Engagement program, supporting the recruitment and retention of the best and brightest physicians to care for our community. To honor her generosity, Montage Health Foundation has renamed the program The Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence and intends to continue expanding its initiatives and impact in the years ahead.

Like many communities across the country, Monterey County is faced with a shortage of doctors, coupled with obstacles to recruitment, including the cost of housing, high cost of living, and limited social opportunities for younger professionals. “Recruiting and retaining the best doctors is critical to support the health and vitality of our community.” said Kevin Causey, vice president and chief development officer, Montage Health Foundation. “We are so grateful to Sally for this generous gift and investment in community health.”

Sally Lucas and her late husband Don Lucas always held a commitment to investing in community through philanthropy. In addition to being generous donors to Community Hospital for many years, Don was also a member of the Montage Health Foundation advisory committee from 2011 – 2016, and a founding Montage Health Foundation board member in 2017 before his passing on October 30, 2017. In establishing The Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence, Sally hopes to recognize the Montage Health doctors involved in their care, and support future generations of talented physicians. “My husband Don and I felt blessed to have Community Hospital and their doctors available to us,” said Sally. “My desire is to make sure this continues in the future, and I hope this donation helps encourage brilliant doctors to come, live, and practice in this very special community.” 

The Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence helps support doctors affiliated with Montage Health through numerous programs:

  • Scholarships for continuing medical education and research
  • Grants for clinical volunteer work to support underserved populations
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Well-being resources, including free counseling services and special COVID-19 support
  • Social events that help build a sense of community and camaraderie among staff
  • Home loan program

The Physician Grant Program is one of The Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence initiatives. As part of this program, doctors can apply for grants to advance projects they believe are vital to support the health of the community. Dr. Juan Magaña, a hospitalist at Community Hospital and graduate of North Salinas High School, was awarded a grant in early 2021 to develop a year-long shadowing program at Community Hospital. The project enables first-generation, low-income college students who are interested in careers in medicine to learn first-hand about opportunities in the medical field and how to pursue them. “Along the way, I’ve always focused my efforts on being a good clinician and on helping get first-generation and low-income students into the medical field,” said Magaña. “Yet one of the biggest roadblocks has been finding meaningful mentors for these students to shadow.” With support from The Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence, 12 low-income college students from communities underrepresented in medical careers will participate in the shadowing program this year.

“The Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence will have a lasting impact on the health of our community.” said Causey. “It is generous gifts like the one from the Lucas family that allow us to continue to offer vital and innovative health services to the Monterey area for years to come.”


Montage Health is the nonprofit parent company of a family of organizations dedicated to improving lives by delivering exceptional care and inspiring the pursuit of optimal health. Through its subsidiaries and its partnerships with doctors and other clinicians, healthcare and community organizations, and, most importantly, community members, Montage Health is dedicated to care that is coordinated across all care settings to meet each person’s goals and needs. Montage Health’s family of companies includes Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Montage Medical Group, Montage Health Foundation, Montage Wellness Center, Aspire Health, and MoGo Urgent Care. For more information, visit

Montage Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization that inspires and coordinates philanthropic support for Montage Health. Montage Health Foundation supports the work of Montage Health through grant-making, volunteerism, and philanthropic partnerships with community members and like-minded organizations.