The California Endowment
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The California Endowment is a private, California-focused health foundation that advocates for health and health equity, and raises awareness of how and where health can happen. The Endowment does this by fighting to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved communities, and investing in fundamental improvements for the health of all Californians. Founded in 1996, The California Endowment supports the statewide Health Happens Here campaign which is reframing the conversation around health care from medical settings and individual choices to the idea that our health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and through aggressive prevention measures.
In support of the Health Happens Here campaign, The Endowment is currently engaged in a 10-year Building Healthy Communities place-based plan. Launched in 2010, residents, community-based organizations and public institutions in 14 underserved communities across California are working to bring health back to their communities through advocacy and community organizing using 10 specific outcomes that will build community health as their framework.
The Endowment is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego.
- 1 History
- 2 Activities
- 3 Heath Happens Here Campaign
- 4 Building Healthy Communities
- 5 WE Connect
- 6 California FreshWorks
- 7 Boys and Men of Color
- 8 Health Law Guide for Business
- 9 Grant making
- 10 Leadership
- 11 Awards
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The California Endowment is a conversion foundation and was founded in 1996 following the creation of Blue Cross subsidiary WellPoint Health Networks.
Over the course of its history, The California Endowment has invested in health broadly, from strengthening the safety net for families struggling with poverty to diversifying the health care workforce to disease-specific initiatives that worked to reduce and prevent chronic health conditions.
The lessons learned from these early investments were the genesis for Health Happens Here’s three areas of focus – neighborhoods, schools and prevention – and the 10-year, $1 billion Building Healthy Communities plan. By taking an upstream approach that emphasizes prevention on a community level, The Endowment believes that it can improve the health of all Californians.
In addition to the awarding of grants in California, The Endowment engages in foundation-led public education and advocacy for health equity, including health coverage enrollment campaigns.
The Endowment also provides public programming events at its conference centers in Los Angeles and Oakland. These range from documentary screenings to speaker presentations on a broad range of health-related topics.
In addition, The Endowment’s staff are frequent presenters at health-focused conferences and convenings.
The California Endowment also offers complimentary meeting and conference space in its Los Angeles, Oakland and Sacramento offices to nonprofit organizations and qualified government agencies that advance their mission to "expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians."
Heath Happens Here Campaign
Health Happens Here is the core of The Endowment’s work. It challenges Californians to think about health beyond the doctor's office and beyond the good vs. bad choices people make.
Health Happens Here means that where we live and everything that surrounds us, are among the most important factors that affect our health. Health Happens Here means ensuring every family, regardless of where they live or their income level, has access to affordable, healthy foods and clean water, safe places to play and exercise, and schools that encourage students to be physically active throughout the day, are free of junk foods and junk drinks, and support common-sense discipline policies.
The campaign centers on three critical areas: neighborhoods, schools and prevention.
Health Happens in Neighborhoods
Health Happens in Neighborhoods aims to change the public conversation regarding land use, healthy food access, community safety, and economic opportunity in order to build neighborhoods with health in mind. The goal is to contribute to the rise of neighborhoods with parks, grocery stores, bike paths and more safe places to walk, run, work and play.
Health Happens in Schools
Health Happens in Schools spotlights the pivotal role that schools play in the physical, social and emotional health of children. By advocating for healthy food, physical activity and school discipline policies based on common-sense responsibility and respect, The Endowment supports safe and healthy school environments that are necessary for academic and life achievement.
Health Happens with Prevention
Health Happens with Prevention educates key audiences about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and other avenues to preventive health and community wellness. A primary goal is to connect low-income Californians with prevention-centered health as envisioned in the new law.
Building Healthy Communities
Launched in 2010, The Endowment’s comprehensive Building Healthy Communities plan specifically targets 14 communities for improvements in community health. By enlisting community leaders and residents within each neighborhood and focusing on a community-oriented approach to health, The Endowment is “aiming at nothing less than a revolution in the way all of us think about and support health for all Californians.”
Issues to be tackled by Building Healthy Communities include housing, unhealthy environmental conditions, community safety, youth development, and access to healthy foods, among others. Success will be measured through empirical benchmarks such as childhood obesity rates and school attendance.
The Building Healthy Communities sites are located in Boyle Heights, Central Santa Ana, Central/Southeast/Southwest Fresno, City Heights, Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Lands, Eastern Coachella Valley, East Oakland, East Salinas (Alisal), Long Beach, Richmond, Sacramento, South Kern County, South Los Angeles, and Southwest Merced/East Merced County.
As part of the Building Healthy Communities plan, program managers are embedded in their respective communities in order to help with decision making and managing the work on the ground.
WE Connect – established by former California First Lady Maria Shriver in 2005 and now run by The California Endowment – helps families learn and connect to important state and federal programs that are available to them, including programs such as CalFresh, the Women and Children’s Program (WIC), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. The WebConnector connects individuals and families to programs and services for which they may be eligible and instructs them how to apply. Events throughout the state connect families to important programs and resources and with the people and organizations who can help answer questions and apply.
The California FreshWorks Fund is a $264 million public-private partnership loan fund led by The California Endowment and a team of partners to bring affordable healthy food access to underserved communities around the state. The fund invests in bringing grocery stores and other forms of healthy food retailers to food deserts.
Boys and Men of Color
The California Endowment works in an alliance of state and national partners working to ensure that boys and young men of color have the chance to grow up healthy, to get a good education, and to make positive contributions to their communities.
Studies show that place matters when it comes to the health of African-American and Latino boys and young men. Negative health outcomes for boys and young men of color are a result of growing up in neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage - places that are more likely to put boys and young men directly in harm's way and reinforce harmful behavior.
In 2012, the Assembly Select Committee on Status of Boys and Men of Color convened series of hearings in Los Angeles, Fresno, Oakland and Sacramento on the health and well-being of boys and men of color. The committee focuses on how education, health care, employment and public safety policies are developed, delivered and financed with the goal of improving these policies to better support the health and success of young men of color.
Health Law Guide for Business
As part of the foundation’s Health Happens with Prevention program, the Health Law Guide for Business web site was created to help small business owners better understand the new health law and how they can benefit from the law’s tax credits available to them.
The California Endowment makes grants to organizations and institutions that directly benefit the health and well-being of Californians.
The Endowment has an 18-member Board of Directors that governs the organization. The Board is chaired by Tessie Guillermo, whom Bill Clinton tapped as the inaugural member of his Advisory Committee on Pacific Islander and Asian American Affairs. Vice Chairman C. Dean Germano is the CEO of the Shasta Community Health Center and focuses his efforts on advising The Endowment on administering healthcare to underserved, often rural areas. Other Board Members include: Susan V. Berresford, Daniel Boggan, Walter L. Buster, Jesse Casso, Jr., Shan Cretin, Adrienne Y. Crowe, Jane Garcia, Russ Gould, Zac Guevara, Christina Kazhe, Kate Kendell, James Lewis Kyle II., Maurice Lim Miller, Hugo Morales, Steve PonTell, and Robert K. Ross, M.D.
The California Endowment has been led by President and CEO Robert K. Ross, M.D since 2000. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Ross served as director of the Health and Human Services Agency for the County of San Diego from 1993 to 2000, and Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Philadelphia from 1990 to 1993. Named one of the most influential civic leaders in health policy by Capitol Weekly, Dr. Ross has focused the work of the foundation on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, strengthening the capacity of community health centers, improving health services for farm worker and ex-offender populations, and strengthening the pipeline for bringing racial and ethnic diversity to the health professions. He has received numerous honors, including the Council on Foundations’ 2008 Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year Award.
B. Kathlyn Mead serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for The California Endowment. Mead joined The Endowment in May 2007 and oversees the day‐to‐day operations and management of the foundation. Prior to joining The Endowment, Mead was the CEO of the Council of Community Clinics in San Diego.
Anthony Iton leads the Healthy Communities program as a Senior Vice President for the California Endowment. Iton is an accomplished student of public health issues and a sought after lecturer at national conferences on the topic. He went from doing primary care work for the City of San Francisco to working as the Public Health Officer in Alameda County before joining the Endowment in 2009.
Daniel Zingale joined the Endowment as a Senior Vice President, Healthy California, after spending several years working as Chief of Staff to California First Lady Maria Shriver, Special Advisor to Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Cabinet Secretary to Former California Governor Gray Davis. Zingale was also a founding director of the California Department of Managed Health Care, where he served as the first “HMO Czar” in the nation. Zingale helped develop and oversees all three of the Health Happens Here campaigns.
Jim Keddy is Vice President and Chief Learning Officer for the organization. He previously served as The Endowment’s Director of Healthy Communities – North. Keddy, a former board member of The Endowment from 2005-2009, is responsible for the development and oversight of the learning, evaluation, and research functions of the foundation. Prior to the Endowment, Keddy was director of PICO California, the state’s affiliate of the PICO National Network, an association of non-partisan, faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to the issues impacting low-income communities.
Ruth Wernig, CFA, serves as the Chief Investment Officer and oversees the investment management of the organization’s nearly $3.2 billion endowment and manages a staff of eight investment professionals and administrative staff. Prior to her appointment at The California Endowment, Wernig served for six years as the Treasurer for the University of Southern California (USC).
At the 2012 California Governor’s Volunteering and Service Awards, The California Endowment was named “Foundation of the Year” for its work on the Building Healthy Communities initiative and the Health Happens Here campaign. Many of the programs The California Endowment has funded have also won national-level awards, including L.A. Care winning the “Recognizing Innovation in Multicultural Health Care Award” from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
- "Company Overview of The California Endowment". Businessweek. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- DiMassa, Cara Mia. "California Endowment broadens ambitions and narrows scope". Los Angeles Times.
- "About". The California Endowment.
- "Health Happens in Neighborhoods". The California Endowment.
- "Health Happens in Schools".
- "Health Happens with Prevention".
- "Building Healthy Communities Summary". Web. 11 January 2011.
- "Building Healthy Communities".
- "About WE Connect".
- "Healthy Communities Matter: The Importance of Place to the Health of Boys of Color". The California Endowment.
- "Health Happens with Boys and Young Men of Color Youtube Channel".
- "The California Endowment Board of Directors".
- "B. Kathlyn Mead".
- "Anthony Iton".
- >. "California Endowment Wins Top Volunteer Award.". ABL Healthcare Online. 14 August 2012.