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Fostering Healthy Environments

A healthy neighborhood includes clean air, safe drinking water, access to healthy food, and parks and other spaces for community gatherings and recreation. But people in underserved communities often live, work and play in unhealthy environments and have little say in local planning and other decision-making processes. Cal Wellness seeks to ensure that community residents are engaged in civic life so that effective systems, infrastructures and resources are in place in low-income communities to address long-standing inequities in the distribution of resources and assets. We know that there are many elements that go into creating a healthy neighborhood. However, the issues we prioritize are environmental justice, equitable access to healthy food, and park equity for low-income communities.


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: 

  • Community organizing, civic engagement and public policy advocacy to promote environmental justice in underserved communities.
  • Efforts to increase access to healthy food in underserved communities by:
    • Encouraging corner stores in underserved communities to sell fresh, healthy food. 
    • Helping to establish new sources of healthy food such as grocery stores, farmers markets, urban farms and community gardens.
    • Promoting comprehensive nutrition and healthy cooking education for adults. 
  • Improving social connectedness through creating new or improved parks and recreational space in underserved communities. Must also include community engagement and public policy efforts that address inequities in park access.  
  • Supporting healthy land use planning policies to make progress on the issues of environmental justice, healthy food access, and equitable park access. 

Target Populations

All projects we fund must support low-income communities, urban and/or rural.

What We Do Not Fund

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

  • Organizations providing physical activity or recreational activities for adults or youth (such as a YMCA). 
  • Food banks that are seeking funding to support food distribution activities. 
  • Programs providing meals for seniors or persons with chronic or debilitating diseases. 
  • Nutrition, healthy-eating and active-living education programs for children. 
  • Obesity and diabetes prevention education. 
  • Asthma prevention and education programs. 
  • Organizations working to build or advocate for more affordable housing, or to improve the quality of substandard housing. 
  • Organizations working on transportation issues (transit justice, bicycling and pedestrian issues, etc.). 
  • Stand-alone conferences and individual research projects that are not linked to ongoing strategy support.
  • Individual degrees and fellowships.

Examples of Funded Grants

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

  • Environmental justice:
    Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice: $225,000/3 years. This grant supports community organizing, leadership training and public policy efforts to address air pollution and other environmental justice issues in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. 
  • Park equity:
    Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust: $250,000/3 years. This grant supports community organizing efforts to support creation of neighborhood parks in areas that lack them.  
  • Healthy food access:
    Leadership for Urban Renewal Network: $200,000/3 years. This grant supports a nonprofit purchasing and distribution cooperative providing healthy food to over 60 small corner stores in Los Angeles. 
  • Healthy land-use planning: Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability: $150,000/3 years. This grant supports efforts to achieve fairer distribution of public funding and health related resources in underserved communities of the San Joaquin Valley.
A letter of interest is the first step in requesting a grant. We’re now accepting LOIs.
Check out our grants database.
Alex Johnson
Program Director Alex M. Johnson

Alex M. Johnson is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation.

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