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Advancing Wellness

Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care

Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods

Expanding Education and Employment Pathways

Opportunity Fund

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Overview of the Opportunity Fund

Cal Wellness recognizes that the health and wellness of Californians is improved when the state’s nonprofit organizations are strategic, stable and managed by strong, knowledgeable leaders. The Foundation is committed to making the philanthropic field more responsive to the communities we serve and to funding efforts that increase philanthropic resources from new and emerging donors in California.


What We Support

Sandra J. Martínez
Director of Public Policy

Advancing Public Policy

Grantmaking in this area will complement Cal Wellness’ efforts to address issues from a systemic perspective. Cal Wellness seeks to support efforts focused on improving policies or conditions for underserved Californians using public policy activities such as education, advocacy, civic engagement and analysis.

Key Strategies & Target Populations

Key Strategies

  • Education, advocacy and civic engagement that inform policymakers about policies and programs that address the health of underserved Californians but fall outside of Cal Wellness’ defined portfolios.
  • Research and analysis on health issues that affect California to inform the field and build awareness.
  • Capacity building for organizations that advocate for public policies designed to improve Californians’ health.

Target Populations

  • Organizations and coalitions engaged in advocacy efforts
  • Research institutions and think tanks
  • Grassroots leaders, community organizers and coalitions

Examples of Funded Grants

Please Note: The grants descriptions below are for reference only and offer examples of what Cal Wellness commonly funds under this grantmaking area. They should not be considered the only efforts that the Foundation will support.

  • Core operating support for a coalition of organizations working to increase civic engagement of underrepresented communities in San Diego County — including low-income communities of color, immigrants, refugees, youth and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population — to improve the health and well-being of their neighborhoods.
  • Core operating support to complete research and make policy recommendations to: ensure underrepresented minorities have access to health sector jobs and education; help public health departments and universities approach their work using a health equity lens; and convene a summit to help leaders stay up to date on the healthy equity movement.
  • Funding for events and publications that explore the social determinants of health, health equity, health policy, and how California’s underserved communities are working to solve problems and create healthier local communities.
  • Support for a collaborative that seeks to ensure that the maximum number of eligible Californians benefit from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents by providing services such as legal aid, outreach, education and document preparation assistance.

Resources on This Issue


Julio Marcial
Program Director

Strengthening the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector

Nonprofit entities often do not have the resources to build their internal capacities, which limits their ability to fulfill their missions. Cal Wellness funds efforts to strengthen the nonprofit and philanthropic sector as a whole. By funding organizations that are capable of sharing expertise in management, staffing, structure and operations — as well as an understanding of larger issues affecting the field — we envision the entire sector working more effectively and collaboratively with the ultimate goal of improving health and wellness for all Californians.

Please note: Nonprofit organizations seeking funding for capacity-building efforts, strategic planning and executive management training for their own organizations are encouraged to submit requests for core operating support through the portfolio that best fits the work they are doing: Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care; Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods; or Expanding Education and Employment Pathways. Grants within this grantmaking area are intended for organizations working to strengthen the nonprofit and philanthropic sector as a whole.

Key Strategies & Target Populations

Key Strategies

  • Efforts that provide nonprofit organizations, specifically those working to improve Californians’ health, with human resource management and training; financial management assistance; communications training; board and organizational development; fundraising training; leadership development; convenings and networking; and strategies to help them become more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
  • Research and analysis on health issues and trends in the health care, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors that help inform the field and build practical knowledge among nonprofit and philanthropic leaders.
  • Work that ensures the philanthropic sector is responsive to the health needs of underserved communities in California, such as working to increase diversity on nonprofit boards; regranting in underserved neighborhoods; providing technical assistance with regard to leveling the playing field for all Californians; and policy advocacy on behalf of the sector.

Target Populations

  • Nonprofit capacity-building organizations
  • Nonprofit technical assistance providers
  • Philanthropic organizations

Examples of Funded Grants

Please Note: The grants descriptions below are for reference only and offer examples of what Cal Wellness commonly funds under this grantmaking area. They should not be considered the only efforts that the Foundation will support.

  • Core operating support to a philanthropic institution for the regranting of capacity-building funds to nonprofit organizations serving low-income communities of color, coupled with networking opportunities and technical assistance.
  • Support for training and executive coaching programs for leaders of color from nonprofit health, human service and social justice organizations.
  • Core operating support to a nonprofit coalition for ongoing efforts to provide learning opportunities for grantmakers by producing publications, hosting conferences and organizing innovative campaigns that attempt to improve the sector.

Resources on This Issue

Promoting Innovation

Promising pilot projects and innovative approaches have the potential to significantly improve the health of those most in need in California. Cal Wellness seeks to respond to emerging health needs and learn about trends and issues in California that influence health. Most grants in this area are short term (one year in duration) and are earmarked for projects that fall outside Cal Wellness’ funding priorities. We will support activities that address health and wellness in underserved communities using unique approaches and tools such as the arts, technology, data, multimedia communications and partnerships.

Key Strategies & Target Populations

Key Strategies

  • Activities that address health and wellness in underserved communities using unique approaches and tools such as the arts, technology, data, multimedia communications and partnerships.
  • Efforts that address urgent health needs, such as natural disasters and humanitarian situations.

Target Populations

  • Organizations and coalitions engaged in advocacy efforts

Examples of Funded Grants

Please Note: The grants descriptions below are for reference only and offer examples of what Cal Wellness commonly funds under this grantmaking area. They should not be considered the only efforts that the Foundation will support.

  • Support for the redistribution of unused medications to safety-net clinics as a health and wellness strategy.
  • Funding for a public interest law firm to build capacity to support and represent unaccompanied children in immigrant courts and to facilitate identification of, and referrals for, those who have been victims of abuse.
  • Core operating support for an aquatic therapy program serving veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress to improve their health and wellness.

Resources on This Issue

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 (LOI).
  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.

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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