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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

Home > Grants Program > Wellness Grants

Overview of Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods

Wellness is promoted when neighborhoods are economically and environmentally vital, socially connected, civically engaged and safe. When any of these factors is missing in a community, it can compromise health outcomes and increase incidences of violence.


What We Support

Earl Lui
Program Director

Fostering Healthy Environments

A healthy neighborhood includes clean air, safe drinking water, access to healthy food, and parks and other spaces for community gatherings and recreation. But people in underserved communities often live, work and play in unhealthy environments and have little input into local planning and other decision-making processes. Cal Wellness seeks to ensure that community residents are engaged in civic life so that effective systems, infrastructures and resources are in place in low-income communities to address long-standing inequities in the distribution of resources and assets. While there are many other elements that go into creating a healthy neighborhood, the issues we have chosen to prioritize are environmental justice, equitable access to healthy food, and park equity for low-income communities.

Key Strategies & Target Populations

Key Strategies

  • Community organizing, civic engagement and public policy advocacy to promote environmental justice in underserved communities.
  • Efforts to increase access to healthy food in underserved communities by encouraging corner stores in underserved communities to sell fresh, healthy food; helping to establish new grocery stores, farmers markets and community gardens; supporting healthy food incentive programs at farmers markets and grocery stores for low-income individuals; and promoting comprehensive nutrition and healthy food education for adults.
  • Creation of new or improved parks and recreational space in underserved communities through community engagement and public policy efforts to address inequities in park access and to improve social connectedness.
  • Using healthy land use planning tools to make progress on the issues of environmental justice, healthy food access, and equitable park access.

Target Populations

  • Low-income communities of color

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.

Example of a grant for environmental justice and healthy land use planning:

  • Core operating support to provide outreach and education to residents about the health impacts of pollution from industrial sources in their communities; leadership development to prepare residents to participate in local government proceedings; and public policy efforts to develop and implement community-driven land use plans that separate sources of pollution from homes and schools and bring positive assets into the community.

Example of a grant for increasing equitable access to healthy food:

  • Funding to increase the number of corner stores, grocery stores, produce stands and farmers markets providing healthy food in underserved areas of Oakland, and to educate residents about the importance of consuming healthy food.

Example of a grant to increase park equity:

  • Core operating support to provide training and technical assistance to community residents and local governments to increase funding for new or improved parks located in low-income communities.

Resources on This Issue


Julio Marcial
Program Director

Promoting Violence Prevention


The evidence is consistent and compelling that underserved communities — where poverty, incarceration and re-entry, limited educational opportunities, and easy access to guns are present — bear a disproportionate share of the public health burden of violence in California. Cal Wellness’ goal is to build resilience in diverse communities across the state so that all Californians have the opportunity to live in safe and healthy neighborhoods. Cal Wellness commonly funds research, public education campaigns, community organizing and advocacy to prevent violence, particularly gun violence; and efforts that prevent violence in underserved neighborhoods, with a particular emphasis on youth and adults who have been exposed to trauma.

Key Strategies & Target Populations

Key Strategies

  • Research and public policy analysis on gun violence — as well as education and outreach that is based on research — to effect policy changes at all levels of government.
  • Community organizing and policy advocacy efforts to reform the juvenile and adult criminal justice system.
  • Gang prevention and intervention activities, such as: exposing youth and adults to positive alternatives; support services for individuals re-entering their communities after incarceration; preventing retaliation; and counseling services for trauma-exposedyouth and adults.
  • Leadership programs for youth and adults, including incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, victims of violence, leaders of violence prevention programs, and concerned citizens working to establish a culture of nonviolence.
  • Communications strategies that use the arts, documentary film or social media to highlight effective violence prevention programs and strategies.

Target Populations

  • Boys and men of color
  • Women and girls of color
  • Formerly and currently incarcerated youth and adults
  • Formerly gang-involved youth and adults

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 policy research center to inform policymakers about public policies affecting incarcerated youth, as a violence prevention and re-entry strategy, and to monitor the implementation of current laws related to juvenile and adult criminal justice, such as Proposition 47.
  • Funding for the research, analysis and dissemination of information on gang-involved young women in California, including recommendations for improving outcomes as a violence prevention strategy.
  • Core operating support to a community-based youth services organization for after-school and mental health programs, and a hospital-based gun violence intervention program, which offers case management, counseling and mentoring services.
  • Core operating support to educate and train violence prevention leaders to engage in visual storytelling and documentary film projects, as well as regrant funds for their projects.

Resources on This Issue


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; and
  • 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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