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Public Affairs Overview

Effective March 7, 2016, the new Public Affairs Department will be responsible for implementing communications, community relations and public policy strategies in order to extend the reach and impact of the Foundation’s work.


 

Richard Tate,
Vice President of Public Affairs

Richard Tate is vice president of public affairs at The California Wellness Foundation, where he leads a multidisciplinary team responsible for the Foundation’s communications, community relations and public policy activities. In his role, Tate develops and implements strategies to further the reach and impact of Cal Wellness and its Advancing Wellness grantmaking by engaging audiences in addressing the issues central to the Foundation’s mission. He reports directly to the president and CEO and is a member of the senior management team.

Full Biography

Richard Tate is vice president of public affairs at The California Wellness Foundation, where he leads a multidisciplinary team responsible for the Foundation’s communications, community relations and public policy activities. In his role, Tate develops and implements strategies to further the reach and impact of Cal Wellness and its Advancing Wellness grantmaking by engaging audiences in addressing the issues central to the Foundation’s mission. He reports directly to the president and CEO and is a member of the senior management team.

Tate joined Cal Wellness in 2016 after ten years with HopeLab, the health-focused nonprofit organization of the Omidyar Group and a pioneer in digital health research and development. He was HopeLab’s first director of communications and marketing and advanced to become a vice president and member of the executive leadership team. He oversaw all public relations, media outreach and product marketing, including the successful launch of HopeLab’s groundbreaking Re-Mission video game for teens and young adults with cancer and HopeLab’s participation in the launch of the federal Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation at the White House, where President Barack Obama featured HopeLab and its Zamzee product as an exemplar of social innovation.

Prior to joining HopeLab, Tate was a director of corporate communications for the multinational biotechnology company Chiron Corporation, through its acquisition by Novartis AG. He managed communications and media relations related to Chiron’s biopharmaceuticals business, working closely with company executives, product marketing teams, investor and government relations personnel, research scientists and patient advocates. He began his career in communications as an editor and journalist and held editorial positions at the national newsmagazine The Advocate, Citysearch.com, and the Los Angeles lifestyle magazine Buzz. He also was an assistant director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Southern California.

He is a board member of the Bay Area Surgical Mission and participates in the organization’s work providing free medical care in remote communities in the Philippines challenged by poverty and limited access to health services. He is also a board member of Northern California Grantmakers. Tate earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern California, where he was a Deans Scholar and winner of USC’s Edward W. Moses Writing Competition. Tate has lived and worked in California since 1991 and is based in the Cal Wellness San Francisco office.

Contact

 
Follow Richard on Twitter: @taterichard


 

Iris Banuelos,
Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Public Affairs

Iris Banuelos is executive assistant to the vice president of public affairs, where she coordinates administrative activities and works on special projects to help ensure the efficient and professional operation of the Public Affairs Department.

Full Biography

Iris Banuelos is executive assistant to the vice president of public affairs, where she coordinates administrative activities and works on special projects to help ensure the efficient and professional operation of the Public Affairs Department.

Before joining the Foundation in September 2016, she worked for three years at HopeLab, a health-focused nonprofit organization of the Omidyar Group. She started as an office services assistant and worked her way up to executive assistant to research, strategy and innovation.

Banuelos is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Contact

 


 

Sandra J. Martínez,
Director of Public Policy

Sandra J. Martínez is director of public policy at The California Wellness Foundation. In this capacity, she plans, coordinates and oversees Cal Wellness’ public policy activities as a means of advancing its mission, achieving its goals and amplifying the impact of its grantmaking. She is responsible for grantmaking related to advancing public policy, which addresses health issues from a systemic perspective and supports efforts focused on improving policies or conditions using activities such as education, advocacy, civic engagement and policy analysis.

Full Biography

Sandra J. Martínez is director of public policy at The California Wellness Foundation. In this capacity, she plans, coordinates and oversees Cal Wellness’ public policy activities as a means of advancing its mission, achieving its goals and amplifying the impact of its grantmaking. She is responsible for grantmaking related to advancing public policy, which addresses health issues from a systemic perspective and supports efforts focused on improving policies or conditions using activities such as education, advocacy, civic engagement and policy analysis.

Martínez joined Cal Wellness as a program director in January 2002 and became the director of public policy in 2011. Previously, Martínez directed the Progressive Los Angeles Network and directed other community-organizing efforts at the Community Coalition in South Los Angeles. She has also conducted extensive research on health-related issues such as the effects of the AIDS epidemic on teens, co-authoring a chapter of “The AIDS Challenge: Prevention Education for Young People” and “The Los Angeles County Adolescent HIV Strategic Plan.”

Currently she serves on the advisory board for the California Health Interview Survey and on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Trade Tech College Foundation. In 2010, she was a fellow in the inaugural class of Grantmakers In Health’s Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy, and also completed a four-year term as a commissioner for the city of Los Angeles’ Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families (2006 to 2010). She is a past community-funding board member for the Liberty Hill Seed Fund; past president of the board of the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles; and a former board member of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Women and Youth Supporting Each Other, and the California Child, Youth and Family Coalition.

She received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA and her master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact

 
Follow Sandra on Twitter: @DPP_CalWellness


 

Sande Smith,
Director of Communications

Sande Smith is director of communications at The California Wellness Foundation. In this capacity, she develops and oversees external and internal communications programs that support and advance the Foundation’s mission, vision and voice. She is responsible for expanding the Foundation’s online presence via a variety of integrated platforms; and developing and identifying key messages, audiences and communications channels.

Full Biography

Sande Smith is director of communications at The California Wellness Foundation. In this capacity, she develops and oversees external and internal communications programs that support and advance the Foundation’s mission, vision and voice. She is responsible for expanding the Foundation’s online presence via a variety of integrated platforms; and developing and identifying key messages, audiences and communications channels.

Smith joined Cal Wellness in March 2017. Previously, she worked as director of strategic communications for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, where she led internal and external communications strategies, including redesigning and relaunching the organizational website, and implementing regular online communications that featured ConnectEd staff as “thought leaders.” As communications director at the Women’s Foundation of California, she designed and led strategic communications efforts that included launching a new website, and cultivating advocates to take online actions on behalf of low-income women and families. Prior to that, Smith worked at the Global Fund for Women where her work generated coverage on issues such as the role of philanthropy in making social change and the disproportionate effect of natural disasters on women. She developed award-winning publications and did public speaking about human rights challenges facing women around the world. Previous positions include senior account executive for the global firm Ruder Finn Public Relations; campaign manager for the Center for Responsible Funding in Philadelphia; and public relations professional for the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Smith is past president of the San Francisco chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from Brown University.

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David B. Littlefield,
Public Affairs Manager

David B. Littlefield is public affairs manager for The California Wellness Foundation. Littlefield is responsible for the day-to-day management of the communications department, which includes overseeing digital and print communications and coordinating with executive and program staff on communications efforts and public policy outreach.

Full Biography

David B. Littlefield is public affairs manager for The California Wellness Foundation. Littlefield is responsible for the day-to-day management of the communications department, which includes overseeing digital and print communications and coordinating with executive and program staff on communications efforts and public policy outreach.

He joined the Foundation in April 2002 as a communications officer and was appointed manager of the Foundation’s communications grants program in 2014. As a manager, he oversaw strategic outreach and worked with program directors on grants for public education, policy and polling, as well as other grants that require Foundation-related communications.

During his tenure, he has been responsible for the editing and production of the Annual Report and Reflections, a series published by Cal Wellness to share lessons learned and information gleaned from its grantmaking. He also managed annual communications campaigns for two Cal Wellness leadership recognition awards and oversaw Cal Wellness’ sponsorships with Town Hall Los Angeles and the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.

His projects have received numerous commendations from the Public Relations Society of America, Los Angeles Chapter (PRism Awards), and the Council on Foundations (Wilmer Shields Rich Awards).

Previously, Littlefield was a senior grantwriter at the Saban Community Clinic (formerly The Los Angeles Free Clinic) with a focus on foundation and corporate giving. He also worked at the Ramsey Foundation/Regions Medical Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a development associate. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. Littlefield is a member of Southern California Grantmakers and the Communications Network, an affinity group of the Council on Foundations.

Contact

 
Follow David on Twitter: @DBL_CalWellness


 

Stephanie Gomez,
Public Affairs Associate

Stephanie Gomez is a public affairs associate at The California Wellness Foundation. In this role, she helps identify, cultivate and manage opportunities for collaboration and elevation of health equity among key audiences, including policymakers, community leaders and community partners.

Full Biography

Stephanie Gomez is a public affairs associate at The California Wellness Foundation. In this role, she helps identify, cultivate and manage opportunities for collaboration and elevation of health equity among key audiences, including policymakers, community leaders and community partners.

Prior to joining Cal Wellness in June 2017, Gomez was a program associate at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, where she worked on projects such as advocating for a sidewalk vending permit system and developing trainings and curriculum to help business owners increase their expertise on healthy food retail. She has also worked as a program coordinator for Families In Schools in Los Angeles, and as a policy consultant for the California State Treasurer’s Office.

Gomez earned her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Southern California and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA.

Contact

 


Our Guiding Principles

Guided by our mission, we pursue the following goals through our grantmaking:

  • To address the particular health needs of traditionally underserved populations, including low-income individuals, people of color, youth and residents of rural areas.
  • To support and strengthen nonprofit organizations that seek to improve the health of underserved populations.
  • To recognize and encourage leaders who are working to increase health and wellness within their communities.
  • To inform policymakers and opinion leaders about important wellness and health care issues.

Mission

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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