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President’s Biography

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Gary L. Yates, President and CEO

Gary L. Yates is president and chief executive officer of The California Wellness Foundation and serves as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. He is also assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and a licensed marriage and family therapist. Yates joined the Foundation staff in 1992 after more than 20 years of experience in education, public health and health care. His primary area of interest and expertise is adolescent health, about which he has written and spoken extensively.

Immediately prior to his association with The California Wellness Foundation, he was associate director of the division of adolescent medicine at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Yates received his undergraduate degree in government from American University in Washington, D.C., and his master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. Yates served in the United States Army from 1968-1970.

Yates is actively involved in the leadership of numerous philanthropic, civic and community organizations. He currently serves as a member of the board of Independent Sector and is co-chair of Voices for Philanthropy, a project of the Philanthropy Roundtable. He previously served as treasurer of Hispanics in Philanthropy, vice chair of the boards of the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector, and chair of the boards of Grantmakers In Health, the Foundation Consortium and Southern California Grantmakers.

In recognition of his civic leadership and work in the field of health and human services, Yates has received numerous awards and official commendations.




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.


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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