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Cal Wellness Announces $24.2 Million in Grants and Investments

Grants support social justice storytelling and strategic communications, and increase access to quality health care in rural Northern California. A program-related investment supports entrepreneurship and access to healthy food.

Advocates at the California Immigrant Policy Center's annual Immigrant Day rally in Sacramento.

January 24, 2020—The California Wellness Foundation today announced $24.2 million in grants and investments to improve the health of California communities. A significant set of the grants focuses on changing hearts and minds in order to inspire social and policy change. Another set supports advocacy, organizing and health care access campaigns in underserved communities in rural Northern California. A program-related investment of $1.5 million promotes access to affordable, healthy food and entrepreneurship in low-income communities.

"Our latest grants both respond to urgent needs in our communities and invest in long-term strategies to advance wellness in California," said Judy Belk, Cal Wellness president and CEO.

Social Justice Storytelling Is Key to Advancing Wellness for All Californians

Not all stories are created equal. Some stories—when told persuasively—are able to catalyze social movements, educate and mobilize impacted communities and influence key decision makers in health policy, media and business.

Six grants totaling $925,000 will help Cal Wellness lift unheard voices and broaden the public conversation to include traditionally marginalized communities. Grants to Capital Public Radio and Henry J. Kaiser Foundation will provide funding for quality health reporting in rural Northern California and California’s ethnic media, respectively. Via their award-winning podcast, Truth be Told, KQED will broaden the public conversation on wellness to include the perspectives, experiences and points of view of communities of color. California Immigrant Policy Center will develop public education messaging in order to bridge divides and build healthy communities in Fresno and Orange counties.

Two grants will extend the impact of newly released films, which tell powerful stories. Represent Justice will build a media and an outreach campaign around the film Just Mercy. Their goal is to inspire public demand for an end to mass incarceration and extreme sentencing. Meanwhile, Women in the Room Productions will leverage their documentary, Pushout, to raise public awareness, question stereotypes and change perceptions around the issue of criminalization of Black girls in schools.

"If we want to move the needle towards healthy communities, we must invest in quality journalism and storytelling," said David Littlefield, public affairs manager.

The Health Crisis in Rural Northern California Requires Funding for Health Education, Advocacy and Infrastructure

Poverty, an aging population, homelessness, environmental degradation and isolated geography are some of the reasons why rural Northern California communities face severe health inequities. Cal Wellness’ grants support community advocacy and organizing, health education and improved health care services.

Six grants totaling $900,000 will fund a range of strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of rural Northern California communities. Grants to the True North Organizing Network and Save California Salmon will focus on policy advocacy, health education, leadership building and organizing in rural Tribal communities. Sierra Streams Institute will research the effects of mining toxins and other environmental contaminants on the health of Sierra Nevada residents and will engage in advocacy for rural communities.

Grants to Health Alliance of Northern California and North Coast Clinics Network will focus on strengthening the healthcare safety net by educating policymakers and by providing training and technical assistance to overtaxed clinics and community health centers in the region. The Humboldt Area Foundation will address health inequities in Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties by awarding grants to grassroots organizations working on health and racial equity initiatives in the region.

"Our rural communities have faced underinvestment, severe environmental pollution, and a chronic shortage of quality health care providers and services," said Fatima Angeles, vice president of programs.

Everytable chefs prepare delicious, high-quality, made-from-scratch meals priced according to what a specific neighborhood can afford.

A $1.5 Million Program-Related Investment Supports Economic Empowerment in Marginalized Communities

Cal Wellness is making a program-related investment of $1.5 million in Everytable, a for-profit, public benefit corporation with a mission to make healthy, affordable, and conveniently accessible food available to all. This is the first time Cal Wellness has made a program-related investment to a for-profit company.

Along with the Annenberg Foundation, Cal Wellness is investing in Everytable’s franchise training pilot to train and finance entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities in Los Angeles to become Everytable franchise owners.

"We see Everytable franchises as a vehicle for communities and entrepreneurs to achieve economic mobility and thrive," said Earl Lui, program director.

Learn more about the program-related investment.

See the complete list of new grants.

About The California Wellness Foundation

The California Wellness Foundation’s mission is 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. Since its founding in 1992, Cal Wellness has awarded more than $1 billion in charitable contributions and more than 9,300 grants.

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