Bob’s Blog: Investing in the Future
Responding to the moment
Over the past few years, we have all endured great unrest and witnessed the ongoing racial injustices, the devastating economic and health effects of the COVID pandemic and a re-awakening of civic engagement and activism in this country. One year ago, we saw even greater evidence of our divided nation with the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol led by white supremacists. Amidst all this, The California Endowment resolved to embark on a new journey that would more deeply serve the needs of our communities navigating multiple overlapping crises. Inspired by the late Congressman John Lewis, we asked ourselves what could we in philanthropy do to further resource the “good troublemakers,” the powerful social movements and community organizers who are actively tackling our most pressing challenges? How could we support them in these uncertain times with compassion and resolve?
Together, our board and staff decided to issue $300 million in social bonds under our Social Bond framework. Grassroots groups and leaders are stretched thin even more than usual, so they deserve more from all of us. Our intention is to double down on our investments in power-building and leadership to advance racial justice and health equity in California for generations to come.
What we’ve done so far
We spent the last year in thoughtful planning and collaboration with partners to design how we’d target our resources and use the social bond as an accelerant to truly advance racial justice and health equity. Throughout this process, the Endowment worked with people of color-led and women-led firms to conduct the business and financing of the bond, as part of our overall commitment to racial equity.
We have already begun to issue grants to organizations around the state that are building the capacity of social justice and civic engagement organizations and strengthening the pipeline of our healthcare workforce. We expect to allocate the Bond proceeds in grants made over the next 2-3 years to nonprofit organizations that align with our strategic frameworks and grantmaking criteria. You can read more about the priority areas for Opportunity Investments and the process for selection and evaluation here.
It is our hope that what emerges from the Endowment’s social bond investments is a radically different future where thousands of young people have been empowered to become social justice and civic leaders, there is a robust pipeline of community organizers and a strong statewide network of organizations, and everyone has health coverage regardless of immigration status. We hope that this initiative will result in more partnerships with the state of California to diversify our health workforce, so young people of color are represented in the process of improving the health of our communities. We envision a California that will truly embody the values of wellness, inclusion and shared prosperity.
Please look out for our announcement in May about the first round of grantmaking from the social bond, in which we will share more in-depth stories around our grantee partners and the impact of our investments.
Thank you for your support and for joining us in this exciting endeavor to build a more just, loving and healthy California for all!
We are advancing
health and racial
equity in California
Our health system works best when every Californian has access to quality and affordable health care.
Re-imagining a criminal justice system that centers on prevention and healing.
Inclusive Community Development
Our communities and neighborhoods thrive when policies advance health and racial equity for all Californians.
Building Power in resilient communities across the state for a stronger California.
Academic achievement, inclusive learning environments and health go hand in hand.