California Endowment to focus on 'people, power, health'

California Endowment to focus on 'people, power, health'

The California Endowment has issued a new ten-year strategic plan and framework focused on advancing health equity in marginalized communities.

Building on the achievements of and lessons learned from Building Healthy Communities, the foundation's previous ten-year strategic plan, the new framework will target funding to communities of color and grassroots leaders. Informed in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on people of color, the plan will guide the foundation's efforts to address the systemic racism that underlies poor health outcomes for Black Americans and members of other disadvantaged groups. According to its new vision statement, the foundation imagines "a California where the most impacted communities are empowered to lead the nation as a beacon for wellness, equity, and justice."

With the aim of building a "Health for All" system, the plan outlines ten-year goals in the areas of health, schools, justice, and inclusive community development, including ensuring that all Californians reside in communities with a health system that advances racial equity, prioritizes prevention, addresses community conditions, strengthens resident governance, and advances economic justice; that every public school student in the state — regardless of race, income, identity, or neighborhood — is educated in a racially equitable, inclusive, healing-centered, learning environment; and that California realizes substantial, measurable progress in divesting from incarceration and immigration enforcement and reallocates those resources to health, well-being, and democratizing community and economic development. 

To that end, the foundation will expand its work from the fourteen Building Healthy Communities sites to four broader geographic regions across the state (north, central, Los Angeles, and south) and fund community organizing and movement building in support of long-term change; create a director of racial equity practice and culture position focused on monitoring progress toward systems transformation at the local, regional, and statewide levels; and intentionally invest more in grassroots organizing and community-based initiatives, especially those led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as provide more multiyear and general operating support.

"Racial injustice and structural inequality are made by the human hand," California Endowment president and CEO Robert K. Ross said in a video announcing the new plan, "which means they can be dismantled by the human hand; dismantled by leadership, action, voice, advocacy, activism."

"Power, people and health is at the core of the California Endowment’s next 10-year plan." California Endowment press release 10/15/2020. "People, Power, Health." California Endowment microsite 10/15/2020.