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March 30, 2016

Cecilia Laiché
The California Wellness Foundation
(818) 702-1911

Cal Wellness announces nearly $2.4 million in grants

Grantees use data to advance health equity

The California Wellness Foundation announced today that it approved approximately $2.4 million in funding in the first quarter of 2016 under its Advancing Wellness grants program. The two largest grants support the promotion of health equity through the collection and dissemination of health data. 

“We rely on a social determinants of health framework to help us examine the root causes of health inequities, as well as the potential solutions,” said Fatima Angeles, vice president of programs. “A big part of that work is not only collecting data, but making it accessible and providing tools to help communities work toward health equity locally. As a statewide funder, we understand the importance of advancing wellness in high-need and underresourced pockets of the state, and we are always striving to strengthen our impact by promoting equity through advocacy and access — and that requires smart use of data.”

One grant that Cal Wellness approved is for the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey, a health data source about California’s growing and increasingly diverse population. The Center’s research illuminates for policymakers, decision-makers and service providers where gaps in data exist. The Cal Wellness grant is supporting: 1) CHIS’ AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition, a tool that provides access to data at the zip code and city levels; 2) the production of on-demand, web-based video tutorials for community-based organizations; 3) the collection of key oral health data from adults and seniors; and 4) the dissemination of findings from its State of Health Insurance in California project.  

A second Cal Wellness grant related to using data to promote health is for the Advancement Project's launch of its Achieving Racial Equity Initiative, which will be a collaborative effort to define, measure and advocate for racial equity in California. The AREI will build a framework for racial equity in the state; identify baseline data indicators; use the indicators to rank California’s 58 counties and selected cities; produce policy reports; and develop advocacy campaigns.

“In order to respond in real time to pressing issues in California, we must think outside the box by examining what Advancing Wellness really means in terms of improving health for all and promoting long-term health outcomes,” said Judy Belk, Cal Wellness’ president and CEO.

“Our grant to the Advancement Project will position racial equity as a key driver for health equity in the state, and the indicators and rankings will enable partner organizations to hold local governments accountable for equitable implementation of policies.” 

Other organizations approved for funding this quarter include California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, which will be advocating for improved access to health care and healthy land use planning for low-income communities of color; Children Now, which will be using advocacy and communications tools to ensure successful implementation of the Medi-Cal expansion; and the Opportunity Institute, a nationally recognized research center at UC Berkeley that will work to expand access to postsecondary education for resilient youth and adults in California’s prisons, as well as those recently released through its Renewing Communities Initiative. 

A list of first quarter grants approved by Cal Wellness is available here.

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.

Cal Wellness’ Advancing Wellness grants program is 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 8,160 grants totaling more than $940 million.

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