Frank R. Howard FoundationFrank R Howard building

The Frank R. Howard Foundation was established in 1966 to assist in retaining high quality hospital services in Northern Mendocino County. The foundation strives to assure that a hospital will always be available to those in need of acute care in our beautiful, rural community.

At the 75th anniversary celebration for the hospital in May of 2003, the foundation announced plans to build a new hospital in Willits. Now, ten years later, the new medical center is under construction.

For more information about the foundation, or how you can participate in the fundraising efforts for the new Adventist Health Howard Memorial, please visit the foundation's website:

Frank R. Howard Foundation Web Site

Foundation Phone: (707) 459-2777

Commonwealth Gardens

Commonwealth Gardens, the Frank R. Howard Foundation's 5-acre organic garden that is a component of the new medical campus in Willits, continued to build infrastructure in 2011 with the hope of providing produce to the medical center in 2012.

Prior to 2011 infrastructure completed has been: fencing around the entire garden site, a drilled and developed well and pumphouse, PG&E power installed, planting of a 50+ tree orchard, installation of irrigation to orchard and Christopher's Healing Knoll, a gazebo, start of ADA-compliant pathways, and cover crops planted in the 2+ acre vegetable planting area.

2011 proved to be just as busy a year for the garden infrastructure as the past 3 years with a 30 ft. x 96 ft. complete greenhouse kit, donated by Sparetime Supply, being installed. This very large project was headed by Keith Johnson and the $5,000 Community Foundation of Mendocino County grant was helpful in covering a portion of the costs incurred for pouring the concrete slab foundation for the greenhouse.

The construction of the concrete slab started with many tons of rock being donated and brought in by Northern Aggregates in Willits. Ron's Quality Construction was able to donate design time toward the foundation and Pete Mihechelic donated his time and equipment, both in compacting the rock and in installing the greenhouse side and overhead framework and covering. Chamberlain Creek Conservation Crew helped with getting the covering installed over the whole greenhouse, and Keith Johnson installed power and water to the greenhouse as well as built greenhouse benches with the help a few friends.

And, all this done on a deadline so that the greenhouse could host the Adventist Health Howard Memorial's leadership dinner that was held early in December 2011. The greenhouse was decorated by medical center staff and looked stunning for the Christmas holiday dinner that was prepared by the hospital's Chef, Kyle Evans.

And, yes, the finishing touches (water and power to the greenhouse), were being installed the very afternoon of the dinner. Cheers to everyone's hard work and incredible donations that keep the Commonwealth Gardens project moving toward its goal of providing organic produce for the hospital kitchen and Chef so that patients, staff and visitors can be feed the most wholesome and nutritious food possible.

Click here to view the Commonwealth Gardens photo album.