Debby Nicklas to Retire as Vice President of French Hospital Medical Center Foundation

Debby Nicklas

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – August 22, 2022 – It is with immense admiration and appreciation that we announce the retirement of Debby Nicklas, Vice President of the French Hospital Medical Center Foundation. After 18 years of providing strategic and operational leadership to support hospital programs and services through successful fundraising efforts, Debby’s tenure will conclude November 1. 

Debby began her career with Dignity Health in 2004, where she led the establishment of the French Hospital Medical Center Foundation, created to support the charitable and community health care mission through fundraising and relationship building. In 2017, Debby’s role was further expanded to incorporate service area philanthropy leadership responsibilities to enhance the work of four Dignity Health Foundations on the Central Coast through collaborative programming, shared services, and operational efficiencies.

During her reputable tenure, the French Hospital Foundation has raised more than $58 million to support new hospital facilities and equipment, new programs and services, health education and community outreach, and charity care.

Under Debby’s guidance, the Beyond Health fundraising campaign was initiated, which aims to raise $30 million from the community for the new hospital project -  an 85,000-square-foot patient care tower with private patient rooms, a 16-bed NICU, an expanded intensive care unit, an interfaith chapel, parking tower, and heliport. In total, more than $17 million has been raised for the expansion, which will serve the community well into the future. 

Under Debby’s leadership, the French Hospital Foundation has been the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including; Dignity Health Foundation of the Year, Dignity Health Top Performing Service Area, and Dignity Health Largest Philanthropic Gift, to name a few. 

Debby’s community involvement has undoubtedly proven instrumental in her success. For the betterment of her community, Debby has served in a leadership role on a multitude of boards, most notably for; San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, Lumina Alliance (formerly RISE), Association of Fundraising Professionals San Luis Obispo County Chapter, Children’s Health Initiative of San Luis Obispo County, Rotary San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, and Friends of Prado Day Center.

In recognition of her steadfast dedication to public service and the health and wellness of the community, Debby was awarded Citizen of the Year by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, and was recipient of the Cuesta College Woman of Distinction Award. 

Currently, Debby serves as Chair of the CommonSpirit Health Philanthropy Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Philanthropy Strategic Planning Task Force.

Debby’s profound commitment to both French Hospital and the community in which it resides are admirable. We wish her all the best in her retirement. 

About French Hospital Medical Center

French Hospital Medical Center is a state-of-the-art, 112-bed acute care hospital located in San Luis Obispo, California. French’s Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine is the area’s most advanced emergency services center. The modern facility is home to the Copeland, Forbes, and Rossi Cardiac Care Center, is the county’s premier cardiac center, providing the latest cardiac and imaging technology, and the Hearst Cancer Resource Center offering free education, resources and support to cancer patients and their families. 

French Hospital Medical Center together with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, and Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, make up Dignity Health Central Coast, a network of hospitals, physicians, and outpatient services including physician offices, ambulatory surgery centers, technologically-advanced laboratories and imaging centers, and a full service home health agency. To learn more, visit