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Advancing Public Policy

We seek to support efforts that improve policies or conditions for underserved Californians using public policy activities such as education, advocacy, civic engagement and analysis. Ultimately, these grants must address issues from a systemic perspective.

What We Fund

Each application for funding must fit under one or more of these strategies. Please review the target populations and grant examples listed here to see if your work is aligned with our current priorities. 

  • Education, advocacy and civic engagement that inform policymakers about policies and programs that address the health of underserved Californians but fall outside of Cal Wellness’ defined portfolios. 
  • Research and analysis on health issues that affect California to inform the field and build awareness. 
  • Capacity building for organizations that advocate for public policies designed to improve Californians’ health. 

Target Populations

All projects we fund must support one or more of the following populations:  

  • Organizations and coalitions engaged in advocacy efforts. 
  • Research institutions and think tanks. 
  • Grassroots leaders, community organizers and coalitions.

What We Do Not Fund

We fund very specific projects and activities. We do not fund: 

  • Policy efforts that are focused on a single disease/illness (e.g. Alzheimers).  
  • Policy efforts that are specific to a population and do not have a focus on health equity or social determinants of health. 
  • Lobbying. 
  • National efforts in isolation (if there’s no focus in California). 
  • Standalone conferences and individual research projects that are not linked to ongoing strategy support, and we do not fund individual degrees and fellowships. 

Examples of Funded Grants

Below are some examples of organizations we fund under this grantmaking area:  

  • California Calls Education Fund: $700,000/2 years. For core operating support to continue to engage low-income communities of color in California in integrated civic engagement efforts advancing equity in health care, immigration, economic policy and criminal justice. 
  • USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity: $300,000/30 months. For core operating support for the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity to augment a current grant to provide updated data and analysis for community and advocacy organizations working toward health equity and immigrant integration. 
  • California Budget & Policy Center: $600,000/3 years. For core operating support to continue fiscal and policy analysis and public education to inform health-related policy and budget decisions in California.  
  • National Immigration Law Center: $850,000/3 years. For core operating support to defend and advance the rights, opportunities and health of low-income immigrant and refugee families in California and across the nation.

A letter of interest is the first step in requesting a grant. We’re now accepting LOIs.

Check out our grants database.

Sandra Martinez image
Director of Public Policy

Sandra J. Martínez

Sandra J. Martínez plans, coordinates and oversees Cal Wellness’ public policy activities as a means of advancing its mission, achieving its goals and amplifying the impact of its grantmaking.

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