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For Wellness’ Sake Archive

belkReflections and a Look Toward the Horizon

Reflections from Judy Belk, June 23, 2014

While I’ve been on the job only a few weeks, I’m already bursting with pride as I get a better sense of the amazing work our trustees, staff and community partners are accomplishing each day to improve the lives of all Californians. I am delighted to take this opportunity to share some of my early reflections and update you on what’s on the horizon.

Early Reflections

I’m a firm believer that you instinctively know in the first week on a new job whether it’s going to be a good fit. In most settings, it doesn’t take long to get a sense of the stuff that makes an organization truly tick: its values, its people and its work. On all three fronts, Cal Wellness feels like a new inviting home for me. Every day, I’ve seen evidence in both big and small ways of the staff’s commitment to each other, the community and the Foundation’s core values.  Most importantly, I’ve also begun to reach out and connect with our amazing community partners from across the state. The fit feels good.

People, Learning, Thinking

During the last eight weeks, I’ve tried to focus on getting to know each of the Board and staff members and learn how their work supports the mission of the Foundation. In the coming months, I hope to be on the road more — listening and meeting with community leaders, policymakers and funders, as well as families and others, who inform our work. I’ve also been on a steep learning curve, working hard to get a deeper understanding of Cal Wellness’ legacy of work, both past and present. And, finally, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the possibilities and opportunities in the days ahead for taking the Foundation’s work forward in new and exciting ways.

Grantmaking on the Horizon

As many know, last November, the Foundation stopped accepting unsolicited letters of interest in preparation for the implementation of the next phase of its grants program.

On October 1, we will announce a streamlined program that will better leverage our knowledge and resources while concentrating on the highest needs and opportunities. While some areas will change, three things remain the same:

  • As has been our legacy, the Foundation will continue to allocate its resources to the most underserved communities.
  • Most of our grantmaking will continue to be in response to needs identified by our community partners.
  • The majority of funds will be earmarked for core operating support.

We will continue to be committed to increasing access to health care, strengthening the safety net, helping the uninsured gain coverage — thanks to the historic opportunity of the Affordable Care Act — and supporting efforts that improve health and wellness for underserved youth and families.

Most of all, our mission, goals and guiding principles will not change. We are honoring our past work while laying the groundwork for our new direction.

Updates about the Foundation's future grants program will be provided on the CalWellness.org homepage. In addition, those interested in receiving news updates may subscribe to the Foundation's mailing list.

What drives the Board and staff of The California Wellness Foundation? It's taking our wellness legacy to the next level to promote health equity and help level the playing field for those at risk of being left behind. After all, we all deserve wellness in our lives.

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Our Work

  • We use our resources to advance our mission through grantmaking, investments, sharing our learning and lifting our voice.
  • We fund direct services that address the urgent needs people are facing in their communities, particularly the needs of low-income individuals, people of color, youth and residents of rural areas.
  • We recognize, encourage and strengthen leaders to be powerful agents of change.
  • We support advocacy and civic engagement so that communities can build power and create public policies that reflect their vision, will and needs.
  • We trust and invest in nonprofit organizations so that they can operate at full capacity.
  • We partner with community-led organizations, philanthropic organizations, businesses, government and individuals who want to improve health and wellness for Californians.

Our Mission

To protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of California by increasing access to health care, quality education, good jobs, healthy environments and safe neighborhoods.


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