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For Wellness’ Sake

Dramatic attempts to unravel key national polices providing access to care and protecting immigrant lives have caused fear and suffering for some of the most vulnerable residents of our state. And we must take action when the communities we serve are under attack.


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Now Is the Time to Advance and Defend

Like many of you, this isn’t the start to 2017 I imagined – certainly not in California, where this time last year health care for all and expanded rights for immigrants seemed to be on the horizon. Instead, dramatic attempts to unravel key national policies providing access to care and protecting immigrant lives have caused fear and suffering for some of the most vulnerable residents of our state. And we must take action when the communities we serve are under attack.

In January, anticipating winds of change out of Washington D.C., Cal Wellness Board and staff affirmed our Foundation’s core values and outlined four immediate grantmaking priorities in the statement Together, We Advance and Defend Wellness. We also reached out to listen and learn from community partners how best to respond to the needs of Californians most impacted by changes in the social and political environment. It was our grantees, in fact, who reminded us that while we need to defend progress at the national level, we can continue to advance issues affecting health and wellness in our state.

Over the last three months, we’ve made more than $6 million in grants to organizations working to both advance and defend wellness in California. For us, this has been an extraordinary experience of collective action. Our staff quickly organized to assess and respond to needs in the community; our board worked with us to accelerate our grantmaking process to address the most urgent needs; and our grantees across the state have swiftly engaged, providing critical services and advocating for change. I’m truly proud of the Cal Wellness team, but it’s our grantees who are the true heroes in the work we do together.

The truth is that the future remains uncertain. If the first few months of the year have taught us anything, it’s that we’ll need to stay focused, engaged and unafraid to act when our values are threatened. And it helps to know we’re not alone, that there is a growing community of social change agents – in philanthropy, business and government; on college campuses, in places of worship and around dinner tables across the state – who are willing to respond to advance and defend wellness for all. For that, I’m grateful.


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Previous For Wellness’ Sake Blog Posts

Aftermath: Post-Election Reflections
November 9, 2016

Voices: The Power to Vote Is Awesome. Use It.
October 7, 2016

Critique of a Chronicle Column From the California Wellness Foundation’s CEO
August 18, 2016

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June 14, 2016

June 8, 2016

Raising the Minimum Wage: Five Reasons We Care
April 8, 2016

Message Of Gun Violence Prevention Summit: We Can Do This!
February 8, 2016

Enough! Stemming America’s Gun Violence Epidemic
December 14, 2015

Don’t Be a Wimp: Why a New Foundation CEO Wants to Be the ‘Influence Lady’
November 3, 2015

Memories of a Thirsty Childhood
August 17, 2015

Persevering in the Face of Charleston Tragedy
June 24, 2015

Fostering Youth’s Resiliency for California’s Future
June 16, 2015

Honoring California’s Health Leaders
February 24, 2015

Our Evolution to Advancing Wellness
November 6, 2014

Welcome to Wellness
October 1, 2014

Late Summer Reflections
August 27, 2014

Reflections and a Look Toward the Horizon
June 13, 2014

More Articles and Essays by Judy Belk

One Year After San Bernardino
Huffington Post, December 5, 2016

An Unspoken Barrier to Getting More Black Girls in the Pool: the Hair Factor
Los Angeles Times August 23, 2016

Supreme Court Deadlock Keeps Immigrants’ Health at Risk
Huffington Post, June 24, 2016

Near Ferguson, a Struggle That Begins Before Kindergarten
Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2014

Health Shouldn’t Be Based On Where You Live
Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2014

A Postcard from California: Cal Wellness Foundation President on the ACA and the Foundation’s New Grants Program
Health Affairs’ Grantwatch Blog, October 29, 2014

On Sunday, Faith and Freedom
Los Angeles Times April 7, 2013

Black Americans Donate to Make a Difference
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A Cycle of Class and Privilege Comes Full Circle
Los Angeles Times August 21, 2011

Black Man’s Burden
Los Angeles Times January 16, 2011

The Art of Giving: Feeding Our Minds and Souls
Linkages (from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) Winter/Spring 2009

Big Sky, Open Arms
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How to Apply to the Advancing Wellness Grants Program

  1. Click on How To Apply.
  2. Review the instructions for completing the online letter of interest.
  3. Click “Start a New LOI” to create an account and complete the LOI. All applicants new to the Cal Wellness Grants Portal must create a password-protected account before completing the LOI.


The mission of The California Wellness Foundation is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.

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