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January 20, 2012

Adriana Godoy Leiss, TCWF
(818) 702-1900

The California Wellness Foundation Appoints Director of Public Policy

Woodland Hills (CA) – The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) announced the appointment of Sandra J. Martínez to the position of director of public policy.

“One of the Foundation's four grantmaking goals is to inform policymakers and opinion leaders about important wellness and health care issues," said Cristina M. Regalado, vice president of programs. "Sandra's depth of experience and expertise as a grantmaker, a community organizer and an advocate make her the ideal individual to forward this goal.”

As director of public policy, Martinez — who formerly was a program director for special projects — will plan, coordinate and oversee the Foundation's public policy activities as a means of advancing TCWF's mission, achieving its goals and amplifying the impact of its grantmaking. She will continue to manage the annual TCWF Sabbatical Program Award, which honors nonprofit health executives.

“As a program director, I had the opportunity to make grants to a number of organizations working on policy issues intended to improve the health of underserved Californians," Martínez said. "In this new role, I am excited about the opportunity to use my knowledge, skills and experience to oversee Foundation-wide public policy activities and identify emerging health policy issues with the goal of strengthening the public policy aspects of the grantmaking program and advancing TCWF's mission.”

Martínez joined Foundation in January 2002 as program director during the final year of TCWF's 10-year, $60 million Violence Prevention Initiative. In 2003, she was assigned to oversee the Foundation's grantmaking in special projects, which responds to opportunities that fit the Foundation's mission but are outside the health issues prioritized for funding.

Prior to joining TCWF, Martínez directed the Progressive Los Angeles Network and also directed other community organizing efforts at 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.

Martínez currently is president of the board of the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles. In 2010, she was a fellow in the inaugural class of Grantmakers In Health's Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy. From 2006 to 2010, she served as a commissioner for the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families. She previously served as a community funding board member for the Liberty Hill Seed Fund, and a board member for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Woman and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE), and the California Child, Youth and Family Coalition. She received her master's degree in public health from UC Berkeley, and her bachelor's degree from UCLA.

The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women's health, and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities. Since its founding in 1992, TCWF has awarded 6,544 grants totaling more than $815 million.

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