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John and Nancy Borchard: Advancing a family legacy of community commitment

Farmers John and Nancy Borchard have been dedicated community advocates for more than 50 years. Through their support of St. John’s Hospitals and many other local causes, the couple has advanced the Borchard family’s legacy of philanthropic leadership in Ventura County.

The couple’s ties to the community run deep. John was born into one of the pioneer farming families of Ventura County. His ancestor Christian Borchard moved to the county in 1867 and grew the first commercial crop on the Oxnard Plain. Together with the McGraths, Maulhardts, Friedrichs, Laubachers, and other early settlers, the Borchards established themselves as civic and philanthropic leaders of the Oxnard Plain and Conejo Valley in the late 19th and early 20th century and created several schools, churches, and other non-profit organizations.

When the need to provide additional health care resources for the area’s growing population became apparent, these local leaders established the first St. John’s Hospital in Oxnard together with the Sisters of Mercy in 1912. John (Johannes) Borchard—John’s great-great-grandfather’s cousin—donated nine acres of land, upon which the humble six-room, wooden hospital was built. He also gave $20,000 (approximately $600,000 in today’s value) to perpetually endow two hospital beds for the poor. When Johannes passed away in 1922, his obituary noted that one of his favorite hobbies was to “help people get on their feet.”

As a young boy, John remembers accompanying his mother and an army of volunteers as they walked door to door through many neighborhoods of Oxnard to raise funds for the creation of St. John’s new 75-bed wing on F Street. After all this effort, there was still a shortage of funds to complete the planned building. In the early 1950s, Dr. Cloyce Huff recruited a group to help, and the Humanitarians Gift Society was formed. John’s father, Jack Borchard, and Jack’s uncle, Henry Borchard, became founding members of “The Humanitarians,” a dedicated group of local physicians and businessmen who made significant contributions to St. John’s to ensure high-quality health care in our community.

John and Nancy have upheld and deepened the family’s commitment to St. John’s. Following the example of his father, John joined the Humanitarians in 1968. In 1979, John was asked to be chairman, and served as chairman from 1979-1985. John was privileged, in 1980, to participate in one of the strategic planning sessions to help the Sisters in their internal reflection to determine their purpose and future. The outcome was their Mission Statement. At the 1981 Humanitarian Dinner, Sr. Anthony Marie, then Superior General of the Order, reported that after much soul-searching, consideration of having too few sisters, and the need for partnership with laity, the Sisters determined that as long as the community wanted and supported St. John’s, the sisters were committed to sponsorship. The result of that commitment was reinvigoration of popular support, a new campaign by the Foundation, and the construction of our Regional Medical Center at Rose and Gonzales. John served on the Foundation from 1974-1982 and again from 1990-1995.

Since then, the couple have made annual gifts, volunteered, fundraised, given generously to several capital campaigns, and hosted Foundation events at their home. Nancy served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors from 2006 to 2018 and rejoined the board in 2021. She was elected secretary during her first stint on the board and vice chair in 2022. As a board member, Nancy oversaw the launch and completion of the Circle of Dignity capital campaign in the 2010s, which enabled St. John’s to complete several major modernization and expansion projects at both campuses. The Borchards made a generous naming gift in support of the campaign that enabled St. John’s to create a new chapel at St. John’s Hospital Camarillo. The chapel, which opened in 2020, provides patients, staff, and visitors with an inclusive place for reflection, prayer, and healing.

In addition to their numerous contributions to St. John’s, the Borchards have also served as community advocates for behavioral health services and supported many other local charitable organizations, including their church, the National Charity League, Meadowlarks, Mary Health of the Sick, Catholic Womens Club, and Assistance League of Ventura County, to name a few.

“We deeply believe in the mission and values of St. John’s Hospitals,” Nancy said. “St. John’s has been an integral part of our community for more than 110 years and has grown and expanded with our community. This expansion and growth have happened because of the support of so very many in our community. We’re proud to be a part of the support for St. John’s Hospitals to ensure that they continue to provide excellent health care, mental health care and community health outreach services for all.”



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