California Wellness Foundation Announces Changes to Its Priorities

On October 1, The California Wellness Foundation launched its new grant program, Advancing Wellness. The foundation went through a restructuring period and stopped accepting letters of interest last November.

Not only are they currently accepting letters of interest on an ongoing basis, but they have streamlined the application process. Their new grants portal allows interested grant seekers to submit letters of intent directly online (and if deemed a good fit, full proposals as well) and also allows grantees to manage their current grants.

The mission of the foundation has not changed; they still seek to “to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.“

The foundation is still committed to responsive, statewide grant making, funding core operating support, direct services, public policy and capacity building, and improving the health of underserved populations.

However, they have made a number of changes in their grant making portfolio, including the elimination of the Healthy Aging and Women’s Health portfolios. Some of these issues will be targeted in other areas, but many organizations will feel the loss of dollars as a result of the shift.

The foundation has been a leading funder of teenage pregnancy prevention for the state in the past. And while they will be focusing some efforts on access and availability of health insurance, which may aid prevention and prenatal care for young women, targeted efforts to curb teen pregnancy will be significantly lessened. The foundation will be providing bridge funding for some of its grantees that will no longer fit within their priorities.

Below is a summary of the foundation’s three main portfolios (with a focus on youth-related areas): Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care, Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods and Expanding Education and Employment Pathways. California Wellness has also designated an additional Opportunity Fund for programs that fall beyond these areas.

1.)    Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care

a.) Advancing healthcare reform and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act

  • Emphasis on populations that remain uninsured – including young adults and undocumented immigrants.
  • This area also includes policy-related activities that promote equitable and comprehensive coverage for women.

b.) Supporting community clinics and health care safety nets.
c.) Improving oral health for seniors and low income adults.
d.) Increasing diversity within health professions.
e.) Workforce development activities/education/outreach that target underrepresented minorities employed in healthcare.
f.) Initiative opportunity

  • Focuses on tailored prevention, primary care, health education and outreach to women of color at-risk for, or living with, HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

2.)    Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods

a.) Fostering Healthy Environments

  • Promotion of environmental justice (clean air, water, healthy food).
  • Access to safe and open space/recreation.

b.) Supporting Violence Prevention

  • Community organizing; education and outreach; research; and data collection related to gun violence prevention.
  • Leadership development programs for youth.
  • Gang prevention and intervention, juvenile and adult criminal justice, and re-entry programs.
  • Programs that expand and develop community college and college programs in adult correctional facilities.
  • Education and advocacy efforts to inform policymakers and opinion leaders about policies and programs that reduce violence in California.
  • Communications strategies that use different media to highlight effective violence prevention, juvenile justice and adult criminal justice programs.

3.)     Expanding Education and Employment Pathways

a.) Increasing Educational Opportunities for Resilient Youth

  • College readiness programs, such as campus-based support and vocational training.
  • Capacity building for organizations providing social supports.
  • Leadership development programs for youth at risk of not reaching their academic goals.
  • Expansion and development of community college and higher education opportunities in juvenile and adult correctional facilities.
  • Research and data collection.
  • Advocacy for policies that support resilient youth who are pursuing higher education and vocational training.
  • 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 Foundation’s defined portfolios.
  • Education and awareness activities.

b.) Capacity Building

  • Capacity building or organizations and philanthropic institutions.
  • Leadership development.

c.) Promoting Innovation

  • Activities that address health and wellness in underserved communities using unique approaches and tools such as the arts, technology, data, multimedia communications and partnerships.
  • Efforts that address urgent health needs, such as natural disasters and humanitarian situations.

b.) Promoting Employment and Asset- Building Opportunities

  • Job readiness/training programs
  • Policy around predatory financial practices targeting low income populations

c.) Initiative Opportunity

  • Supports programs and services that improve the economic well being of women exciting the criminal justice system and women who are formerly incarcerated.

 4.) Opportunity Fund 

a.) Advancing Public Policy

  • Education, advocacy and civic engagement that inform policy makers about policies and programs that address the health of underserved Californians but fall outside of foundation’s portfolio.

b.) Capacity Building

  • Capacity building of organizations or philanthropic institutions
  • Organizational leadership development

c.) Promoting Innovation

  • Activities that address health and wellness in under-served communities using unique approaches and tools such as the arts, technology, data multimedia communications and partnerships.
  • Efforts that address urgent health needs such as natural disasters and humanitarian situations.

Interested grantees can submit LOIs at any time during the year. The foundation will contact organizations a few days after submittal of the LOI to let them know they have received it. Following the initial email, applicants will hear back from the foundation regarding the status of their LOI approximately three months later.

The foundation encourages potential grantees to contact them with any questions prior to submitting a LOI. To contact the foundation with questions, call (818) 702-1900 and ask for Grants Management or send an email to grants@calwellness.org.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Judith Fenlon
About Judith Fenlon 166 Articles
Money & Business Editor for The Chronicle of Social Change