HOME > Cal Wellness at 25
The California Wellness Foundation is a private, independent foundation. Our mission is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.
Cal Wellness became a grantmaking foundation in 1992 when Health Net converted to become a for-profit insurance plan. Over the years, we have taken on some of the most contentious issues of our time, all focused on advancing health and wellness for underserved people. We have always believed that health is a human right – regardless of income, race, gender or legal status. It is an honor and a privilege to contribute to work that elevates California by leveling the playing field for all who live here.
Health Net, one of the state’s largest health care and insurance providers, converts from nonprofit to for-profit status. The California Wellness Foundation opens as the result of the conversion. At the time, Cal Wellness is the largest foundation in California resulting from a “health care conversion.”Read more 1992
From the start, the foundation adopts an intentional focus on issues affecting California’s most vulnerable populations. “Just like in business, I believe that with strategic planning, sound research and the willingness to fund in new areas, we could make a significant impact,” says Founding Board Chair and Trustee Roger F. Greaves.Read more 1992
Cal Wellness launches its first major grantmaking program: the Violence Prevention Initiative. Over 10 years, the Foundation commits $60 million to the work, with other funders providing added support.Read more 1992
The Foundation launches the California Peace Prize to honor individuals who are working to prevent violence and promote peace in their communities. 63 individuals will receive this recognition over the following 21 years.Read more 1993
Cal Wellness funds a 10-year campaign to educate policymakers, community leaders and the public about the devastating effects of handgun violence.Read more 1994
Cal Wellness makes a $4 million grant for a public education project related to Proposition 188, a ballot measure that would severely weaken tobacco control laws and increase health costs across the state. The measure is soundly defeated at the polls.Read more 1994
Gary Yates is appointed president and CEO, beginning a 16-year stretch as a courageous and visionary leader for the foundation.Read more 1995
To complement its work on violence prevention, Cal Wellness launches new initiatives focused on health improvement, work and health, children and youth, and teen pregnancy prevention.Read more 1995
The foundation opens a San Francisco office, doubles the size of its staff, forms a communications department, and debuts its website, tcwf.org.Read more 1996
Cal Wellness launches “Get Real About Teen Pregnancy,” a multimedia public education campaign is aimed at building support for policies that can reduce teen pregnancy.Read more 1998
Cal Wellness launches its Responsive Grantmaking program, encouraging health-focused nonprofit organizations to identify their most pressing needs and prioritizing core operating support for grantees. The initiatives sunset.Read more 2001
Cal Wellness commissions the first Cal Wellness-Field Health Policy Survey. The annual survey is a vital source of information on California’s voters’ views on health care policy.2006
Cal Wellness begins to invest significant funds to the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California.Read more 2010
Dr. Diana M. Bontá joins Cal Wellness as president and CEO, following the retirement of Gary Yates.Read more 2012
Diana Bonta steps down; Colburn “Cole” Wilbur is appointed interim president and CEO.Read more 2013
The foundation moves to an online application process and reduces wait times for grant approvals and funding.Read more 2014
Together with a group of other funders, Cal Wellness also launches the Hope and Heal Fund to invest in innovative and promising approaches to violence reduction.Read more 2016
Responding to dramatic attempts to unravel key national policies, Cal Wellness launches the Advance and Defend campaign. Cal Wellness took action when communities it serves were under attack.Read more 2017
Since its founding 25 years ago, Cal Wellness has awarded almost 9,000 grants totaling more than $991 million throughout California.Read more 2017
Please select an item from the "Reason for inquiry" menu below and then click the submit button. You will be directed to the appropriate online email form.