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The California Wellness Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-05-11

At A Glance

The California Wellness Foundation

6320 Canoga Ave., Ste. 1700

Woodland Hills, CA United States 91367-2565

Telephone: (818) 702-1900


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $941,083,728

Total giving: $33,930,757





Additional Contact Information

Branch Office address: 575 Market St., Ste. 1850, San Francisco, CA 94105, tel.: (415) 908-3000, fax: (415) 908-3001. E-mail for grant inquiries:


Established in 1992 in CA; converted from Health Net HMO

Purpose and Activities

The foundation's mission is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The foundation pursues the following goals through grantmaking: 1) to address the particular health needs of traditionally underserved populations, including low-income individuals, people of color, youth and residents of rural areas; 2) to support and strengthen nonprofit organizations that seek to improve the health of underserved populations; 3) to recognize and encourage leaders who are working to increase health and wellness within their communities; and 4) to inform policy makers and opinion leaders about important wellness and health care issues.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Advancing Health Care Reform and the Affordable Care Act

The foundation works to ensure access to health coverage and access to health care for the remaining uninsured in California, including those not eligible because of immigration status. Funding also supports efforts that benefit vulnerable populations, such as those eligible for insurance assistance through health care reform. Key strategies: Culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education to individuals and small businesses on enrollment in, and utilization of, health insurance; public policy efforts to provide coverage for people who remain uninsured, including those who are undocumented; public policy efforts to ensure equitable and comprehensive coverage for women; and communications activities to promote the importance of health coverage and the successes of health care reform in California. Target populations: The remaining uninsured, including those not eligible because of immigration status; women and girls; residents of low-income communities and underserved regions; youth and adults returning from incarceration; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Advancing Public Policy

The foundation seeks to support efforts focused on improving policies or conditions for underserved Californians using public policy activities such as education, advocacy, civic engagement and analysis. Grantmaking in this area will complement the foundation's efforts to address issues from a systemic perspective. Key strategies: 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’ defined portfolios; research and analysis on health issues that affect California to inform the field and build awareness; and capacity building for organizations that advocate for public policies designed to improve Californians’ health. Target populations: Organizations and coalitions engaged in advocacy efforts; research institutions and think tanks; and grassroots leaders, community organizers and coalitions.

Diversity in the Health Professions

The foundation seeks to strengthen and develop new pathways to health care sector jobs for underrepresented minorities in the health professions. Key strategies: Programs that encourage careers in the health professions among underrepresented minorities at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels; that improve admission and retention rates among underrepresented minorities and women in health professions schools and training programs; and that support underrepresented minorities and women in health care jobs through workforce development and employment retention activities. Target populations: Underrepresented minorities and women and girls.

Fostering Healthy Environments

The foundation seeks to ensure that effective systems, infrastructures and resources are in place to support healthy living in underserved, low-income communities. Key strategies: Support for efforts to promote environmental justice and healthy land use planning in underserved communities; prevention of new sources of pollution in communities; clean-up of polluted sites and green economic development; increasing access to healthy food in underserved communities through strengthened food systems; and increasing access to parks and open space in underserved communities to improve recreational opportunities and social cohesion.

Grants to Individuals Program

Awards to honorees as an acknowledgement of their commitment to prevent violence and promote peace in their communities, and of their commitment to increasing California's health care workforce and its diversity. .

Improving Oral Health Care for Low-Income Adults and Seniors

The foundation seeks to address the well-documented gaps in access to, coverage for, and quality of, oral health care for low-income adults and seniors. Key strategies: Efforts that sustain and increase the provision of oral health services; education about oral health care issues; efforts that increase the oral health care workforce; efforts to strengthen data collection and analysis; and advocacy and education that informs policymakers and opinion leaders about the need to strengthen and expand quality oral health care. Target populations: Low-income adults and seniors.

Increasing Educational Opportunities for Resilient Youth

The foundation is committed to charting a path to increasing access to resources, opportunities, and support for adolescents and young adults it defines as resilient youth. These are young people, ages 14 to 26, who are in, or have exited, the juvenile justice system; are current or former foster youth; have been or are currently homeless or runaways; or are pregnant and/or parenting youth who have experienced these circumstances. Key strategies: 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; and advocacy for policies that support resilient youth who are pursuing higher education and vocational training.

Investing in Capacity Building

The foundation seeks to help nonprofit leaders and organizations, and the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, achieve organizational and financial stability, improve program quality, promote growth and, ultimately, realize greater social impact. The foundation is also committed to supporting new types of trainings that help facilitate entrepreneurship and experimentation by building skills systematically across sectors. Key strategies: Capacity building and leadership development to help nonprofit organizations achieve organizational and financial stability, improve program quality, promote growth and, ultimately, achieve measurable improvements for individuals and communities; and efforts to ensure that the philanthropic sector is responsive to the health needs of underserved communities in California. Target populations: Health nonprofit organizations in California; the philanthropic field; and nonprofit health executives.

Promoting Employment and Asset-Building Opportunities

The foundation seeks to strengthen pathways to obtaining and retaining employment to improve health outcomes. Key strategies: Job readiness and training programs; efforts to promote and develop self-employment, microbusinesses and worker-owned cooperatives; efforts to strengthen and improve access to income supports; cross-sector approaches that address financial security as a major determinant of health; policy advocacy that addresses wages and working conditions; and policy advocacy that addresses discriminatory, deceptive and predatory financial practices and services targeting low-income people. Target populations: Low-income youth and adults facing barriers to employment; resilient youth, ages 14 to 26; formerly incarcerated adults; military veterans; and women and girls.

Promoting Innovation

The foundation seeks to respond to emerging health needs and learn about trends and issues in California that influence health. Most grants in this area are short term (one year in duration) and are earmarked for projects that fall outside the foundation's funding priorities. It will support activities that address health and wellness in underserved communities using unique approaches and tools such as the arts, technology, data, multimedia communications and partnerships. Key strategies: Activities that address health and wellness in underserved communities using unique approaches and tools such as the arts, technology, data, multimedia communications and partnerships; and efforts that address urgent health needs, such as natural disasters and humanitarian situations. Target populations: Organizations and coalitions engaged in advocacy efforts.

Strengthening Community Clinics and Safety-Net Partners

The foundation aims to both sustain and improve the quality and breadth of services at community clinics and other safety-net providers that serve vulnerable populations, and increase the number of underrepresented minorities employed at community clinics. Key strategies: Education and outreach about the importance of having a community health home; efforts to sustain and improve preventive and primary health care; efforts to ensure that community clinics and safety-net partners can meet increased demand; efforts that strengthen collaborations and partnerships among community clinics, safety-net providers and community-based organizations; efforts that strengthen and sustain clinic consortia; high-quality health care workforce development and academic programs to increase the number of underrepresented minorities employed at safety-net institutions; and education and outreach about careers in the health professions to increase the diversity of clinicians at safety-net institutions. Target populations: Newly insured and remaining uninsured.

Violence Prevention

The foundation seeks to minimize trauma and fortify communities to be safe and healthy for all of its residents. Key strategies: Community organizing, education and outreach, research, and data collection related to gun violence prevention; leadership development programs for youth and adults that support violence prevention efforts; 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; and communications strategies that use different media to highlight effective violence prevention, juvenile justice and adult criminal justice programs. Target populations: Youth who are in, or have exited, the juvenile justice system; adults exiting the criminal justice system; and women and girls.

Fields of Interest

  • Air quality
  • Communicable disease control
  • Community college education
  • Community health care
  • Community organizing
  • Comprehensive sex education
  • Crime prevention
  • Crisis intervention
  • Dental care
  • Education
  • Environmental health
  • Family planning
  • Family services
  • Food banks
  • Food delivery
  • Graduate and professional education
  • Health
  • Health care access
  • Health care clinics
  • Higher education
  • Home health care
  • Homeless services
  • Homeless shelters
  • Hospital care
  • Human services
  • Immigrant services
  • Leadership development
  • Maternal and perinatal health
  • Medical education
  • National defense
  • Nonprofits
  • Nursing care
  • Nutrition
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Occupational health
  • Offender re-entry
  • Out-patient medical care
  • Prenatal care
  • Preventive care
  • Prison alternatives
  • Probation and parole
  • Public health
  • Rehabilitation of offenders
  • Reproductive health care
  • Senior assisted living
  • Senior services
  • Services for offenders
  • Sexually transmitted disease control
  • Solid waste management
  • Temporary accommodations
  • Toxic substance control
  • Undergraduate education
  • Vocational secondary education
  • Water pollution
  • Women's services
  • Youth development
  • Youth pregnancy prevention
  • Youth services
Population Groups
  • Adolescents
  • American Indians
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Ex-offenders
  • Female adults
  • Female children and youth
  • Females
  • Homeless people
  • Immigrants
  • Indigenous peoples
  • LGBTQ people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Male adults
  • Male children and youth
  • Males
  • Migrant workers
  • Out-of-home youth
  • People of African descent
  • People of Asian descent
  • People of Latin American descent
  • Refugees and displaced people
  • Seniors
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Veterans
  • Young adults
  • Multipurpose centers

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $941,083,728 (market value)

Gifts received: $16,203

Expenditures: $46,791,072

Total giving: $33,930,757

Qualifying distributions: $42,996,721

Giving activities include:

$33,812,433 for 576 grants (high: $450,000; low: $1,000)

$118,324 for 88 employee matching gifts