FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2015
The California Wellness Foundation
Funding addresses timely and pressing issues affecting all Californians
At its June 2015 meeting, The California Wellness Foundation’s (Cal Wellness) Board of Directors approved 38 grants totaling $7.4 million. As the third docket under the Advancing Wellness grants program, funding supports Cal Wellness’ commitment to help “level the playing field” so that everyone has access to good-paying jobs, safe neighborhoods, educational opportunities and quality health care services. Grants were approved under all four portfolios and allocated throughout California, with a focus on underfunded geographic regions and communities in big metropolitan areas with less than robust nonprofit infrastructures and resources.
A highlight within the docket is a commitment by the Foundation to address the health outcomes of boys and men of color (BMoC) by funding the California Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color (Alliance). This coalition of California foundations strives to accelerate and strengthen policies and practices that improve BMoC’s lives, including their health and wellness. Cal Wellness has a long history of supporting efforts that improve health outcomes of BMoC and is committed to addressing the needs of this population under its Advancing Wellness grantmaking.
“[At Cal Wellness,] we see young people who are resilient in the struggle to overcome enormous odds. If California is going to succeed as a state, then we can’t afford to waste this human capital,” said Judy Belk, president and CEO. “We need these resilient young people to fill current and future jobs, parent the next generation, and engage and participate fully in civic life.”
Also approved was a cluster of grants to support efforts to improve wages and benefits for low-income workers from communities of color. Such benefits include paid sick leave and access to programs that improve financial security. This funding falls under the Expanding Education and Employment Pathways portfolio and supports policy strategies that address income as a determinant of health and wellness.
Advancing public policy is also the focus of a grant approved for the Flexible Leadership Awards Program to increase civic engagement within low-income communities of color in Orange County. As the third most populous county in the state, it has experienced dramatic changes in demographics over the past 30 years. Communities of color now represent more than half of the county’s population, but many of its people are not registered to vote and are underrepresented in the democratic process. Approved under the Opportunity Fund, the Flexible Leadership Awards Program strengthens leadership skills and advocacy capacities of low-income residents to create positive changes in the policy arena related to community health and wellness issues directly affecting them.
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.
On Oct. 1, 2014, Cal Wellness introduced its Advancing Wellness grants program designed to promote equity through advocacy and access. The grantmaking focuses on three interconnected portfolios: Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care; Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods; and Expanding Education and Employment Pathways. The program also includes the Opportunity Fund to support innovation in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.
Since its founding in 1992, Cal Wellness has awarded 7,690 grants totaling more than $912 million.