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Cal Wellness Issues in the News

Each week, we collect news relating to each of our four portfolios. Read on to learn more.

July 21, 2021

Community Well-Being

Equity in Access

  • A new provision in this year’s state budget eliminates the asset test for Californians enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare and will instead assess eligibility based solely on income. The removal of the asset test, which currently disqualifies those with more than $2,000 in savings, is expected to increase Medi-Cal enrollment and also ensure applicants don’t empty their accounts in an attempt to qualify for health care.
  • A CalMattersarticle summarizes the progress Governor Newsom has made on his bold health care promises including lowering prescription prices and instituting a state-funded single-payer health system. Prescription prices for some drugs have increased by 16% but last year the state took initial steps to create state-run generics. Progress on a single-payer system stalled during the pandemic but a bill that would establish a framework for state paid health care is expected to resurface next year.

Economic Security and Dignity

  • California lawmakers approved $35 million for a state-funded guaranteed income planfor qualifying pregnant people and former foster care youth. There have been several local guaranteed income pilot programs but this is the first statewide program funded by state revenue dollars.
  • A two-episode podcast series investigates the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles anddelves into the systemic problems plaguing the child welfare system. The “Unsafe in Foster Care” series explores why Black children only account for 7.4% of the county’s population though they are almost 25% of all children removed from their homes. 

Leading for Power and Change

  • Los Angeles was once one of the only major cities without a permit system for sidewalk vendors but in 2018 the city council legalized street vending. A blog by Rudy Espinoza of Inclusive Action for the City, a Cal Wellness grantee, shows how they advocated for the rights of vendors that obtained legalization at the city-level and statewide decriminalization. The blog outlines key lessons and challenges in organizing campaigns that build a lasting economic recovery.

July 14, 2021

Community Well-Being 

  • As gun violence rates continue to soar some policymakers are calling for the return to a “tough on crime” approach with strong policing and punitive criminal justice policies. Community violence intervention (CVI) programs have a proven track record of addressing the cycle of intergenerational poverty, violence, and trauma that drives gun violence. New resources and funding from the American Rescue Plan may make it possible to scale CVI programs across the country, reducing the need for stronger policing tactics. 

Equity in Access 

Economic Security and Dignity 

Leading for Power and Change 

The Fund for an Inclusive California and Neighborhood Funders Group are hosting a three-day virtual learning visit featuring organizations leading the fight for racial, economic, housing, and environmental justice in the Inland region.

July 7, 2021

Community Well-Being 

  • As record-breaking heat waves sweep the country, policymakers and advocates are looking at urban tree canopy as critical infrastructure to address climate change. A nationwide analysis shows that communities of color have significantly less tree canopy and are more likely to suffer from the heat island effect which is caused by an absence of shade and prominence of asphalt.  

Equity in Access 

Economic Security and Dignity 

  • Latinos are twice as likely to live in areas prone to wildfires than the rest of the U.S. population. Though Latinos are less than a fifth of the total population, they comprise 37% of the population living in extreme wildfire risk areas. Lack of affordable housing may be a factor driving communities of color to relocate in more remote areas susceptible to wildfires.  

June 30, 2021

Community Well-Being 

  • California will close admissions to state-run youth prisons this week. The three remaining institutions will completely shutter in 2023 and oversight of juvenile offenders will shift to the California Health and Human Services Agency. Some counties may face challenges finding appropriate facilities and developing programs. Officials and advocates alike are looking to the Office of Youth and Community Restoration for guidance.  

Equity in Access 

  • A new data collection system aims to provide disaggregated health data on Filipino Americans that may explain why this group faces health disparities despite faring favorably on numerous socioeconomic indicators. One emerging theory for why Filipino Americans were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 is “a tendency to tolerate, accept or minimize experiences of injustice” as a result of colonialism.    

Leading for Power and Change 

  • Many health funders acknowledge that building community partnerships and funding organizations led by people of color are essential for achieving health equity. However, state and federal grants are complex and small organizations led by people of color often miss these funding opportunities. Public grants are often disbursed in partnership with private funders and a few changes can reverse the trend of excluding small organizations from these public dollars

June 23, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • The U.S. Department of Treasury released guidance to states and localities on how to utilize American Rescue Plan funds to respond to and reduce violent crime including gun violence. Eligible funding uses include Community Violence Intervention programs, mental health services, and hiring law enforcement officers to advance community policing strategies.   

Equity in Access

  • Data analysis shows that many regions in California with a higher density of low-income individuals have lower supplies of working dentists. A policy brief shows that these regions with high rates of low-income adults also have an underrepresentation of Black and Latino dentists and a low proportion of dentists in these areas provide care covered by Medi-Cal 

Leading for Power and Change

  • With most states introducing measures to restrict ballot access and reduce voter turnout, a blog post outlines how funders can protect voting rights. Some recommendations for funders include supporting power-building work outside of peak election season, partnering with other funders, and supporting legal and advocacy efforts.

June 16, 2021

Community Well-Being

Equity in Access

  • COVID-19 led to a staggering rise in audio-only doctor visits and now the California legislature is fighting for Medi-Cal to continue to pay for phone visitsat the same rate as videoconference and in-person visits. Many Medi-Cal enrollees report that phone visits have been instrumental for their health during the pandemic and some safety-net hospitals report that no-show rates for some in-person visits are higher than virtual visits for adult primary care.

Economic Security and Dignity

  • In a 20-minute Pew Charitable Trust podcast, researchers examine the impact of race on economic mobilityand outline how undervaluing homes in Black neighborhoods has implications for wealth-building, funding community needs, and the success of minority-owned businesses.

Leading for Power and Change

  • PolicyLinkbegan publishing a weekly newsletter in April 2020 to provide updates on how COVID-19 impacted BIPOC communities and they recently announced a new newsletter, Equity Blueprint. The reimagined newsletter will share innovative ideas that have the potential to “redesign our nation” and lead to equity wins.

June 9, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • A U.S. District Judge from San Diego overturned California’s ban on assault weapons and in his ruling stated that modern weapons are overwhelmingly used for “legal reasons.” New Attorney General Rob Bonta will appeal the decision, arguing that these weapons are more dangerous than other firearms and most frequently used in mass shootings and other crimes.

 

Equity in Access

 

Economic Security and Dignity

  • State and federal safety net efforts such as stimulus payments, enhancing unemployment benefits, and food assistance programs helped low-income Californians stay afloat during the pandemic. Low-income communities may need longer-term support to fully recover and a report from the Public Policy Institute of California offers recommendations for how safety net resources can bolster an equitable recovery from the pandemic-induced recession.

 

Leading for Power and Change

  • Leaders in philanthropy are often referred to as “gatekeepers” controlling a flow of resources and Amoretta Morris from The Borealis Foundation shares how she works to be a liberated gatekeeper. Amoretta credits her involvement with the Neighborhood Funders Group in helping her use her positional privilege to disrupt power.
  • Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based coalition, tracks hate incidents involving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide and is now a leading source for tracking cases. Stop AAPI Hate launched in March 2020 as a volunteer-run organization and is now receiving state funding and grants from philanthropy for narrative change work and to conduct research and publish reports on anti-Asian racism.

 

June 3, 2021

Community Well-Being 

  • Grantee PolicyLink released a report outlining the state of park equity in California. Historically, Californians have supported efforts to support parks but budgets have declined since the 2008 Great Recession and the pandemic has exacerbated inequities in park access. The report includes recommendations to achieve park equity including supporting workforce development in the park sector.  
  • Though concern about the threats of mass shootings was higher in 2019 following the Gilroy shooting, a majority of Californians still fear mass shootings where they live, particularly Latinos and Asian Americans. At the regional level, Californians living in inland areas such as the Inland Empire and Central Valley report less concern of mass shootings than coastal residents.  

Equity in Access 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic uncovered disparities in the health care system and statewide health data exchange may help advance health equity among Californians. Widespread data exchange would allow health care systems and public health agencies to better respond to crises and the data exchange will be essential to the rollout of CalAIM, a whole-person care approach for MediCal enrollees.  

Economic Security and Dignity 

  • Many industries are facing challenges finding workers and some argue the labor shortage is due to high unemployment payments. In a 30-minute podcast a labor economist from the Economic Policy Institute explains why the shortage is more prevalent in leisure and hospitality and is likely due to low wages 

Leading for Power and Change  

  • report  from grantee California Native Vote Project outlines factors that impact the health and wellness of American Indians and Alaska Natives in California. The report includes recommendations for philanthropy to support AIAN organizations including providing sustained funding, being mindful of capacity constraints, and adopting cultural humility. 
  • In response to the outcome of the presidential election and other critical state-level victories, 47 states have introduced hundreds of bills with provisions to restrict voter access this year. A timeline dating back to 1863 outlines efforts to suppress the political power of Black voters and includes recent voter suppression efforts.  

May 26, 2021

Community Well-Being

 Equity in Access

  • Financial disparities between wealthy hospitals and safety-net hospitals widened during the pandemic as profits soared for private hospitals and safety-net hospitals treated communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The first $46 billion in federal relief funds for hospitals were disbursed based on how much revenue a hospital had in 2019, setting safety-net hospitals further back. Industry leaders predict many safety-net hospitals will close in coming years or convert to for-profit hospitals.

 Economic Security and Dignity

  • California’s eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire on June 30th but the state still faces an eviction crisis with more than 700,000 families behind on rent. A report shows key survey findings and recommendations to prevent an economic and public health disaster including extending tenant protections and removing barriers to rental assistance programs.

Leading for Power and Change

  • Annual budget cycles present opportunities to impact where public dollars are invested at the city, county, and state level. The Vera Institute offers some examples of how budget advocacy can drive justice reform including attending budget hearings and demanding a commitment to fund communities.

May 19, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Farmworkers were deemed “essential” at the onset of the pandemic and health inequities in the industry were magnified when COVID-19 infection rates rose among workers due to dangerous working and living conditions. Though access to COVID-19 care and vaccinations has improved, farmworkers continue to face dangerous working conditions due to climate change. Policymakers are working on legislation that would address heat safety standards and restrict the use of pesticides.

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

Leading for Power and Change

May 13, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • In California, over 200 policing bills have been introduced this session alone,including bills requiring officers to restrain colleagues who are using excessive force, a decertification proposal, and expanded misconduct disclosure requirements. Progressive leaders have been pushing for reform and though little progress has been made in the past year, law enforcement groups appear more willing to negotiate and discuss details on several proposals.

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

  • The latest pandemic relief bill will provide $5 billion in new housing vouchers to support families at risk of homelessnessEven when families get vouchers, they face several hurdles to use the vouchers,including getting local housing authorities to pay the rent they are being charged. Housing authorities say they can’t find enough units they deem affordable, and many landlords are unwilling to participate in the program.

Leading for Power and Change

  • In Richmond, CA the rate of childhood asthma is twice the national average and respiratory illnesses are rampantdue to hundreds of refineries and fossil fuel companies in the area. The Asian Pacific Environmental Network advocated for a multilingual warning system following a 1999 refinery explosion and they’ve continued to organize the local Laotian community to advocate for bills that mitigate pollution and elect officials that don’t accept corporate funding.

May 6, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • In 2020 Los Angeles experienced the deadliest year of violence in a decade. Gun violence did not waver as the pandemic raged. As COVID-19 infection rates and deaths have decreased this year, gun violence and homicides continue to increase. Local law enforcement links the rise in gun violence to the pandemic, availability of firearms, and gang-related disputes.
  • As state leaders determine how to best use pandemic relief funding to support public schools, Californians for Justice is offering six student-centered solutions to rebuild racially just schools. Some of the solutions include a 6-week restorative restart as students return to in-person instruction and investments in wellness centers to support mental health.

Equity in Access

  • brief by the Center for Health Care Strategiesexplores how community health workers, commonly known as “promotoras,” contribute to the health care system and outlines how California can scale and sustain their added value. Some of the significant value community health workers provide include improved patient engagement and increased promotion of health and economic equity.  

Economic Security and Dignity

  • The pandemic uncovered existing inequalities in several frontline industries. Deaths in California increased 25% in 2020 among the 18 to 65 age group and workers accounted for 87% of those additional deaths. Warehouse workers, agricultural workers, and food service workers were most impacted, and Governor Newsom is working on legislation to better protect essential workers.

Leading for Power and Change

April 29, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • New California Attorney General Rob Bonta will expand the gun violence data that is released to researchers and will work to make data more accessible to the public. New data to be released to the UC Firearm Violence Research Center includes Dealer Record of Sale and Automated Firearms System records. Such data can help strengthen the state’s common sense gun laws.
  • Response to addressing COVID-19 may offer important lessons to help curve the recent rise in firearm injuries. Some key lessons include focused prevention efforts in communities with an outbreak, solutions should center those most affected by everyday gun violence, and social and physical environments that allow gun violence to thrive must be changed.

Equity in Access

  • California Budget & Policy Center fact sheet shows how eliminating the asset test for Medi-Cal coverage can help make health care more equitable for vulnerable communities. Currently, property assets are excluded from the asset test and seniors and people with disabilities qualify for Medi-Cal if they have assets under $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. Over half of seniors of color live in renter households and are discouraged from accumulating cash savings.
  • The heads of the Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement departments released guidelines on appropriate terms to use on internal and external communications. The guidelines instruct employees to use “migrant” or “noncitizen” instead of “alien” to promote more inclusive language.

Economic Security and Dignity

Leading for Power and Change

  • Leticia Peguero, Vice President of Programs at Nathan Cummings Foundation, discusses how she supports transformative leadership in philanthropy. In the interview, Peguero shares how DEI initiatives in philanthropy have been commodified, why she doesn’t believe the “hype” of the philanthropic sector, and how philanthropy can blur our relationship to power.

April 22, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Though people who work and are imprisoned in correctional facilities face an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, across the country, less than 20% of state and federal prisoners have been vaccinated. Even when vaccines become more readily available, there is widespread vaccine hesitancy among prisoners and prison staff.

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

Leading for Power and Change

  • Though Payment Protection Program loans and philanthropic support helped the nonprofit sector weather the storm of the pandemic recession, about 12% of California nonprofit organizations had to close their doors in 2020. Over half of nonprofits surveyed saw more community demand for their services and are marching forward through financial insecurity. Nonprofit leaders are evaluating the lessons learned in 2020 and are preparing for the uncertain future.

April 15, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • In the wake of a police officer shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, the White House announced it would not pursue the development of a U.S. police oversight commission. Instead, the administration will focus on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which would ban officers from using chokeholds and entering suspects’ homes without knocking and would eliminate “qualified immunity.”
  • President Biden hopes to address racial inequities baked into our transportation system and infrastructure in his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, known as the American Jobs Plan. In a 7-minute interview, a researcher who studies how transportation policy has affected the development of Black communities outlines some challenges the Biden administration may face in attempting to rectify historical inequities in transportation and urban planning.

Equity in Access

  • President Biden proclaimed April 11 through April 17, 2021 as Black Maternal Health Week to raise awareness to the high mortality rates among Black mothers who die from pregnancy complications at rates two to three times higher than any other group. The administration is committed to systemic policies that provide maternal health care that is free from racial discrimination.
  • The project, “Lost on the Frontline” tracked U.S. health worker deaths during the height of the pandemic. Data reveals racial and economic inequality as two-thirds of deceased health workers identified as people of color and health care workers from the Philippines accounted for a disproportionate number of deaths. Investigative reporting found that many health worker deaths could have been prevented with more PPE, better mask guidance, and improved enforcement of workplace safety rules.

Economic Security and Dignity

Leading for Power and Change

  • Funders for Justice (FFJ) members set out to identify who is doing healing justice work in the field and how the work relates to a public health frame. Following some deep dive exploration, FFJ members developed a Vision for Healing Justice in Philanthropy and are outlining how philanthropy can take action to support healing justice including funding grassroots organizations to purchase land and form land trusts. Cal Wellness is not a member of FFJ but Public Affairs will explore a membership partnership next year.

April 7, 2021

Community Well-Being

Equity in Access

  • A number of states are working on legislation that will allow families on Medicaid to more easily access out-of-state care, which is especially critical for patients requiring specialized treatment. Currently, most state Medicaid providers pay out-of-state providers less than in-state care and laws are working to address the difference by requiring payment parity. Medi-Cal allows out-of-state care for emergency services when a recipient is temporarily in another state but Medi-Cal must first approve any out of-state in-patient medical services.

Economic Security and Dignity

  • An estimated 2.2 million eligible Californians are thought to be at risk of not receiving their federal stimulus payments totaling $5.7 billion lost. A brief by the California Policy Laboutlines how the IRS can help eliminate the stimulus gap nationwide, including the development of auto-payment infrastructure for all safety-net enrollees.
  • As the private and public sectors prioritize a transition to clean energy, vulnerable communities may be disproportionately impacted by a rise in energy costs. The Biden administration’s proposed infrastructure package includesprograms and subsidies that could shield low-income communities from the shift to clean energy.

Leading for Power and Change

April 1, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Following the 9/11 attacks, the United States invested in infrastructure to combat terrorism and as a result, defenses against infectious diseases diminished. Funding for public health preparedness shrank from $940 million in 2002 to $67.5 million in 2019 and the majority of Americans live in counties where expenditures on policing are nearly double that of nonhospital health care. Preparing for the next public health emergency will require restoring investments and closing the gap on the deficit of 250,000 public health workers.

Equity in Access

  • Arkansas policymakers passed HB 1570, a bill that prohibits trans youth from accessing gender-affirming health care or insurance coverage. The bill will take effect this summer unless the Arkansas governor vetoes the bill this week. If passed, Arkansas will be the first state to ban health care for transgender youth.
  • One way to address racial equity in vaccine distribution is to inoculate dialysis patients while they seek treatment in dialysis centers which are frequently located in areas underserved by other forms of health care. Dialysis clinics are expected to receive vaccine doses to expand access among this high-risk group.

Economic Security and Dignity

  • The Longest Shift series includes photographs and motion portraits of essential workers in Los Angeles, which was once the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many Californians shifted to remote work, essential workers – many of whom work low-wage jobs – performed high-risk work that demonstrated their crucial importance. The battle continues to secure living wages for these essential workers.

Leading for Power and Change

March 24, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Following the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado where 10 people were killed, President Biden is calling on the Senate to tighten gun laws; the House has already approved legislation that will expand background checks. Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced that President Biden is considering executive actions to mitigate violence in communities.
  • California has stricter gun laws than any other state but is now revisiting some debates on how to best regulate firearmsincluding microstamping technology. Federal courts have found that state-run websites for registering firearms and completing ammunition background checks were so flawed last year that they put many gun owners at risk of being wrongfully charged with a misdemeanor or felony and prevented them from purchasing ammunition.

Equity in Access

  • Images of children and teenagers detained at the borderhave emerged after federal agencies barred media access and oversight by nonprofit lawyers. Policymakers are criticizing the White House for reportedly keeping children detained for a week at a time despite the three-day limit and for keeping in place a public health order to expel adult immigrants and families.
  • reportby the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative explores the macroeconomic benefits of four immigration regularization scenarios: regularizing all unauthorized workers, regularizing unauthorized essential workers, regularizing unauthorized workers with DACA, and regularizing workers with Temporary Protected Status. Regularizing all unauthorized workers would generate the most 10-year national GDP gain. 

Economic Security and Dignity

  • On Tuesday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the launch of Oakland Resilient Families, a guaranteed income pilot program where 600 Oakland families will receive $500 a month for 18 months. Families can apply and will be randomly selected to participate as early as this Spring.

Leading for Power and Change

  • Recent key wins have put a spotlight on the California Donor Table, a community of individual donors who make investments to make lasting policy change. The Table has donated to organizations working on the census, criminal justice reform, immigration rights, environmental justice, and COVID support, among others.
  • In a short interview, two long-time racial equity grantmakersfrom the W.K. Kellogg Foundation offer perspectives on the role individuals play in advancing racial equity in their organizations and communities.

March 18, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Gun sales in California are continuing to surge this year following an alarming buying spree last year. Firearm data from 2020 and early reports from 2021 show that California is not immune to the national surge in gun and ammunition sales. Analysts predict gun sales will not slow down given that gun sales historically surge when there is a Democratic president in office.

Equity in Access

  • The U.S. is on track to see the highest number of migrants at the southern border in the last 20 years, many of which are unaccompanied minors. Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas committed to ensuring we have an “immigration system that works and that migration to our country is safe, orderly, and humane.” The Department of Homeland Security plans to increase the number of facilities near the border to decrease the time young migrants spend in Border Patrol facilities.

Economic Security and Dignity

  • Changes in higher education may linger after we reach community immunity. California’s Council for Post-Secondary Education is developing a road map for higher education and some recommendations include a common application for admission and more support for students’ basic needs. Hybrid courses that mix online and in-person elements are likely to become more widespread in the post-pandemic future and a focus on mental health for students, staff, and faculty will also remain a priority.
  • Despite significant revenue losses, many small businesses were able to stay afloat during the pandemic thanks to lender forbearance, cost reductions, and government provided-aid. However, making payments on time and maintaining a good credit is not an indication that small businesses are doing well and equitable distribution of loans from the American Rescue Plan will be essential to support business ownership in the country.

Leading for Power and Change

  • Following the deadly shooting of eight people in Atlanta, including six Asian women, leaders from Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy updated their resource directory to combat increased anti-Asian violence in the wake of the pandemic. The resource guide will be updated periodically to connect philanthropy with established organizations engaged in efforts addressing anti-Asian violence.

March 10, 2021

Community Well-Being

Equity in Access

  • In the latest effort to undo the former administration’s immigration policies, the Biden administration will not continue to defend challenges to the public charge rule which disincentivized immigrants from seeking essential public benefits and health care.
  • The California Health Care Foundation’s California Physicians: A Portrait of Practice details information about the supply, distribution, and demographic characteristics of California’s physicians. Some key findings include: over 33% of the state’s doctors are over 60, only four of nine regions in the state have the recommended amount of primary care physicians, and only 8% of the state’s physicians are Latino though they account for 39% of the total population.

Economic Security and Dignity

Leading for Power and Change

Tides’ new Chief People Officer shares how her lived experience informs her strategy for attracting and nurturing Black talent. In a brief interview, Gwen Tillman offers advice to human resources professionals and to Black professionals seeking to achieve their goals in the workplace.

March 3, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • The Background Check Expansion Act was reintroduced on Tuesday and if passed would expand federal background checks on all gun sales including unlicensed sellers, online, gun shows or home sales. A similar bill was introduced in 2019 but did not receive enough Senate votes.

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

Feb. 24, 2021

Community Well-Being 

Equity in Access 

Economic Security and Dignity 

  • Without government assistancetotal personal income would have been lower in 2020 than 2019 in nearly every state. Total personal income grew most in the second quarter of 2020 due in large part to robust government assistance. California is among the seven states where government transfer payments increased by at least 50% compared to 2019.   
  • One indicator that government aid during the pandemic may have mitigated some financial hardships from the COVID-19 recession is the steady improvement of credit health in 2020. However, communities of color continue to experience worse credit outcomes during the pandemic and credit measures do not capture the experiences of the approximately 10% of adults who have no credit file.  

Leading for Power and Change 

Feb. 17, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • A report by the California Budget and Policy Center makes the case for a statewide declaration naming racism as a public health crisis. The report reveals that the pandemic has uncovered how the disproportionate impact on communities of color is a result of racist systems strategically designed to favor particular subsets of the population.

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

  • A Public Health Institute (PHI) study shows that efforts by the California Department of Social Services, coinciding with federal relief efforts, helped to mitigate food insecurity during the pandemic. Infrastructure and partnerships built by PHI to reach hard-hit communities can serve as a model for other counties and states looking to address inequitable food assistance systems.

Leading for Power and Change

Feb. 10, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • In an essay funded by Cal Wellness, a food bank director highlights the outsized importance of food banks in rural communities such as the San Joaquin Valley where farmworkers and others in the food industry are in need of food. Food distribution has evolved, and in some cases has taken employees out into the fields to distribute food where food is cultivated. In other cases, employees have distributed PPE and water in neighborhoods with poor water quality.

 

Equity in Access

  • The California Health Policy Survey provides insights on Californians’ top health care priorities for this second pandemic year. Survey respondents appear to be concerned about access to and cost of health insurance, controlling the spread of COVID-19, and ensuring there are enough health care providers in the state, among other concerns.

 

Economic Security and Dignity

 

Leading for Power and Change

  • First 5 LA is spearheading a new long-term park development project, Link, to add open space to underserved communities and to promote civic engagement. First 5 LA received additional funds for the project from private foundations and plans to leverage revenue generated by a parcel tax approved by voters in 2016.

 

Feb. 3, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Homicides, aggravated assaults and firearm assaults rose significantly in 2020 even though strict stay at home orders were in place for a significant part of the year. The Pandemic, Social Unrest, and Crime in U.S. Cities report shows that the pandemic suppressed homicide rates at first and that links between a crime spike following racial justice protests are uncertain.

 

Equity in Access

 

Economic Security and Dignity

  • In the last year the question of reparations has reemerged as a topic of conversation among scholars, economists and policymakers. Reparations are one way to acknowledge the enormous cost of slavery to Black Americans. However, questions often emerge about how this would work in practical terms—to learn more check out the upcoming webinar: Remaking the Economy: Reparations and Closing the Racial Wealth Gap.

 

Leading for Power and Change

  • February is Black History Month and the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) has put a forward-looking spin with a focus on celebrating Blackness. Black Futures Month will celebrate and uplift Black artists, creators and organizers by telling stories. To kick it off, M4BL released an Afrofuturist short produced collaboratively with Root Story Films which imagines a future when all Black people will be free. Check it out here.

Jan. 27, 2021

Community Well-Being

Equity in Access

  • This 8-minute podcast tells the story of a community hospital serving a vulnerable population in South Los Angeles; the hospital has triple or quadruple the number of COVID-19 patients of nearby hospitals. The outsized impact is a result of inequities in the health care system that have been prevalent in the community for many years.   

Economic Security and Dignity

  • An equity-centered framework for a national subsidized employment program has been released by the Heartland Alliance. The framework calls on the Biden/Harris administration to develop an inclusive recovery that works for people who have repeatedly been left out of the labor market.   

Leading for Power and Change

  • A report from the Nonprofit Finance Fund outlines how outcomes-based funding can advance racial equity. Among the seven recommendations is the call to promote the nonprofit sector as a source of innovation and partnership and engaging with impact investors in innovation and capacity building.

 

Jan. 22, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Conditions that contribute to violence—poverty, unemployment, lack of available resources, isolation, hopelessness, and loss—have intensified during the pandemic and are further compounded by the recent surge in firearm sales. Results from the 2020 California Safety and Wellbeing Survey show violence concern trends during the pandemic year.

Equity in Access

  • Promotoras, community health workers, are using a peer-to-peer approach to combat vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories among Spanish-speaking communities. This approach exemplifies the value of the promotora model to address health care access disparities.

Economic Security and Dignity

  • Building an equitable economy requires addressing the shortcomings in nonstandard workplace arrangements such as temporary and contract work. The Reimagining Workplace Protections report offers policy frameworks that will be essential to protect all untraditional workers.

 

Leading for Power and Change

Jan. 13, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • Exclusionary zoning perpetuates racial residential segregation and a series of briefs has uncovered the most segregated and most integrated places in the Bay Area. Land-use policies, such as single-family zoning, impede the development of affordable housing which makes racial integration feasible.

Equity in Access

  • A reproductive health equity researcher has found that the mortality rate for Black babies is cut significantly when they are delivered by Black doctors. The research provides empirical evidence to describe the impact of a doctor’s race on health outcomes such as infant mortality.
  • Are you interested in learning more about the history and impact of racism on health care, medicine and science?  Check out this virtual event on Thursday January 14th presented by USCF Office of Alumni Relations and the UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach.  

Economic Security and Dignity

  • Social insurance is not a common concept among Americans but the impact of the pandemic has many rethinking the concept. Social insurance are the policies that are put in place to protect and support workers and their families, including unemployment insurance, rental assistance, paid leave and subsidized health insurance. Check out Rethinking social insurance: policies to protect workers and families to learn more about how increasing resources during the pandemic has been beneficial to families in need, and the economy.
  • While average personal income was higher in every state in 2020 compared to 2019 due to supplemental unemployment payments, poverty jumped at a higher rate than it has in forty years. The regions hit hardest by poverty are those with large immigrant populations or with ineffective unemployment systems. Over 45% of people in Riverside, California said they are unable to pay for routine expenses such as rent and food.

 Leading for Power and Change

  • American democracy has been tested this year and shown all of us the cracks and fragility of our institutions and processes. How can philanthropy play a role in rebuilding democracy and our democratic institutions?  Check out this article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review exploring this question at this important moment.

Jan. 7, 2021

Community Well-Being

  • The California Department of Aging released the Master Plan for Aging Playbook designed to assist in building environments that promote an age and disability-friendly state.

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

  • A study by the Urban Institute examines an idea that is gaining traction among health care leaders across the country – investing in housing is investing in health. The study profiles interventions that integrate housing and health services for low-income people.
  • Millions of Americans continue to face a looming eviction cliff and the crisis underscores the widening racial inequality in housing. Governor Newsom has announced plans to extend the eviction moratorium, which is currently set to expire at the end of the month, though it is unclear for how long.

Leading for Power and Change


Dec. 16, 2020

Community Well-Being

  • Reimagining Justice during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic highlights how Americans are thinking differently about incarceration as a result of the pandemic. The pandemic has underscored the importance of centering human needs at the heart of innovation.
  • As of December 14th, 119 incarcerated youth have tested positive for COVID-19, including nearly 50 new cases in just the last few weeks. With a population of less than 800, this means that about 15% of youth at the Division of Juvenile Justice are known to have tested positive. To learn more, check out: COVID-19 Cases Surging in CA Youth Prisons.  

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

Leading for Power and Change

 


Dec. 9, 2020

Community Well-Being

  • The federal government backs mortgages in communities facing grave dangers such as wildfire, hurricanes, and flooding due to climate change. With a congressional mandate to increase homeownership among people from underserved backgrounds, lenders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac face the reality that Climate Change Could Spark the Next Home Mortgage Disaster.

Equity in Access

Economic Security and Dignity

  • Consistent with Dr. Manuel Pastor’s remarks during last week’s learning session, PPIC’s report on Income Inequality and Economic Opportunity in California outlines how the pandemic-induced recession is hitting communities of color and women particularly hard. The report offers some policy interventions that can be used to promote a more equitable economic recovery.

 Leading for Power and Change

  • Do you want to understand a bit more about the history of liberation efforts of indigenous Americans in the U.S.?  Check out this “explainer” from National Geographic focused on the radical history of the Red Power movement’s efforts to fight for the sovereignty of Native Americans.

Dec. 2, 2020

Community Well-Being

Equity in Access

  • As a result of the pandemic, the connection between race and health outcomes has become crystal clear this year. The country’s reckoning with racism as a result of the killing of George Floyd is now pushing the medical education system to reevaluate the use of race in the diagnosis of illness and disease to help doctors spot racism in health care.
  • Despite numerous attempts to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) and some significant victories, including this summer’s Supreme Court ruling, a federal judge recently ruled that the new DACA rules are invalid as Chad Wolf was not legally serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security when he signed rules limiting applications and renewals.  

Economic Security and Dignity

  • 2020 has laid bare the vast inequities that exist in the United States with huge gaps in income, education and access to health care becoming increasingly evident. Check out Is Inequality Inevitable? from the podcast Bill Gates and Rashida Jones ask Big Questions, featuring economist Raj Chetty and Compton Mayor Aja Brown.
  • Top retailers have seen staggering profits during the pandemic as frontline workers face unprecedented risks on the job. A comprehensive report from the Brookings Institute shows how most large retailers are providing negligible compensation to workers despite a windfall of profits. Some frontline workers have been given a one-time bonus or received temporary hazard pay while others saw an increase in compensation; on average, workers had only a 10% increase in hourly wages that were already too low to meet basic needs.

 Leading for Power and Change

  • There is much to still be learned about the recent elections and the efforts to engaged communities in the electoral process. A new report from the USC Equity Research Institute looks at our multiracial future from a Black-Latino lens with a  focus on coalition building. Check out what was learned from four vastly different places based on their regional specificities in Bridges/Puentes: Building Black-Brown Solidarities Across the U.S.
  • Youth are increasingly being cited as essential to power building efforts in California and some regions are beginning to expand their efforts significantly. Check out 99 Rootz: Building a Youth Movement in the Central Valley a case study by Veronica Terriquez and Angelina Santiago.
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