OVERVIEW: The California Wellness Foundation's grants target underserved communities, focusing on healthcare policy reform, access to quality care, safe and healthy neighborhoods, improving economic stability, and advancing public policy.
IP TAKE: Cal Wellness offers both project-based and core operating support grants. The foundation is wide open to California groups working to improve the health of underserved populations.
PROFILE: The California Wellness Foundation defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” and supports a number of public health matters through its grantmaking. Grants are awarded through the foundation’s Advancing Wellness Initiative and its main subprograms:
- Bridging Gaps in Access to Quality Care. This program supports organizations that promote equitable access to quality healthcare, and advance healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods. Grants through this program focus on improving health outcomes by making local neighborhoods safer.
- Expanding Education and Employment Pathways. Cal Wellness views education and employment as “strong predictors to good health.” This program awards grants to groups providing greater education and job opportunities in underserved communities.
The foundation also awards grants through its Opportunity Fund, which focuses on advancing public health policies, strengthening the nonprofit sector and promoting innovation. Again, all grants through this fund are toward improving the overall health of Californians.
Cal Wellness typically awards one- to three-year grants, ranging from approximately $50,000 to $300,000, though most fall in the $100,000 to $250,000 range. A key limitation: Applicants must, for the most part, be nonprofits located in California. To learn more about the types of organizations Cal Wellness supports, and at what levels, explore its Grants Database.
Cal Wellness is a strong advocate of the core operating support approach, due to the flexibility it provides grantees, particularly in enabling nonprofits to be more strategic in handling financial challenges. While the majority of Cal Wellness grants are for core operating support, it awards a number of project support grants, as well.
Other than its geographic restrictions, the foundation is pretty flexible. It considers grant applications outside its priority areas for timely issues and special projects. Cal Wellness also has an open application process, accepting letters of interest throughout the year.
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