Our Focus Areas

Supporting People Power to Achieve Health Equity for All Californians

Play button

Starting in 2021, our 10-year, $2 billion plan advances the vision of a more equitable California

By empowering the work of nonprofit organizations and government entities through grant-making, we’re striving towards a state that is a healthier place to live, free from social inequality and racial injustice; one that can become a model for the rest of the nation.

Where we live, our race, and our income each plays a big part in our health status and life expectancy.

Research shows that in many areas nationwide, a mile can mean 15 more years of life for someone living in an affluent neighborhood as compared with someone living low-income disinvested neighborhood, just several blocks away.

The unfair reality is that odds are stacked against low-income communities and communities of color.

Because of a legacy of racial and economic segregation, anti-immigrant policy and a host of other historical “isms,” there are many communities in California where the neighborhood environment conspires to harm residents. These environments lack basic health protective amenities like parks, grocery stores, decent schools, jobs, housing, and the list goes on.

However, these neighborhood and community environments are not natural; they are man-made, and thus can be unmade.

We are empowering organizations to change that reality within California because we believe that neither race, geographic location, gender or sexual orientation should restrict access to a healthy life.

Our Three Bold Ideas

We envision a “California for All” that leads the nation as a powerful and conscientious voice for wellness, inclusion, and shared prosperity. In support of this, we will invest in three bold ideas in the decade to come:

People Power

People Power

Developing young and adult leaders to work intergenerationally to raise up the voice of marginalized communities and promote greater civic activism as essential building blocks for an inclusive, equitably prosperous state.

Reimagined Public Institutions

Reimagined Public Institutions

Transforming our public institutions to become significant investors in, and champions of, racial and social equity, and in the healthy development and success of young people for generations to come.

A 21st Century “Health for All” System

A 21st Century “Health for All” System

Ensuring prevention, community wellness, and access to quality health care for ALL Californians.

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What we’re Focused on

We are strengthening the fabric of our democracy by investing in the growth of the social and economic power of the very residents who have been the targets of exclusion, stigma, and discrimination.

Transformative and sustained change takes youth leadership, strong partnerships, and a compelling new story about how health can—and should—happen in all communities.

Youth and adult residents are harnessing this power and voice to change the rules at the local, regional, and state levels so that everyone is valued and has access to the resources and opportunities essential for health.

Play button

We believe in the ABC’s of health equity

  • Agency

    Creating people power to ensure school systems, healthcare facilities, elected officials, law enforcement, and other institutions are creating opportunities for the community to thrive

  • Belonging

    Extending the ability to be seen and heard in your full humanity, for people to know your story, and for your voice to count because you belong in California

  • Change Conditions

    Getting to the root causes of poor health in California in the school system, criminal justice system, health system, land use system and making changes that give all Californians the optimal opportunity to be healthy

We are advancing health and racial equity in California

  • Health Systems

    Our health system works best when every Californian has access to quality and affordable health care.

    Poor health outcomes result from a continuing legacy of policies and practices, both within communities and in the healthcare system itself, that discriminate, segregate, and exclude people from the resources and opportunities to be healthy.

    The system is fragmented and uncoordinated, lacks a holistic approach connecting healthcare with public health and other culturally appropriate community wellness resources, and has little accountability to patients or communities. The system’s workforce is highly unrepresentative of the state’s population, its financing is misaligned- incentivizing volume over value or health outcomes – and a strong power imbalance exists between physicians and patients and communities.

    Does your organization do work like this? Submit a Grant Inquiry
  • Inclusive Community Development

    Our communities and neighborhoods thrive when policies advance health and racial equity for all Californians.

    The control and disposition of land, natural resources, labor, and capital intersect in place, and this conjuncture, as seminal drivers of community change, have resulted in gentrification, displacement, over-investment/disinvestment, environmental degradation, undesirable land use, and increased health inequities across California.

    The growing conflict between the role of capital and its impact on the health of communities is rooted in the original atrocities of our country—slavery and genocide—committed in the name of economic advancement. To make progress toward systemic transformation that gets at these roots in the next 10 years, we must correctly and explicitly name this problem, and orient our efforts toward building enough power to ensure that human health and dignity and the sustainability of our planet are put before private profit.

    Does your organization do work like this? Submit a Grant Inquiry
  • Justice Reinvestment

    Re-imagining a criminal justice system that centers on prevention and healing.

    A growing body of research has proven that contact with the justice system has a deleterious, intergenerational impact on the social determinants of health of individuals, families and communities. Deeply entrenched structural racism has facilitated the disproportionate representation of people of color in the system and consequently their experience of harm from it.

    Yet, narratives that conflate systems of punishment and safety continue to shape the political, social and economic conditions that substantiate and incentivize increased public and private investment in the drivers of mass incarceration at the expense of prevention, restorative and health-promoting resources for communities with the greatest needs.

    Does your organization do work like this? Submit a Grant Inquiry
  • Power Infrastructure

    Building Power in resilient communities across the state for a stronger California.

    The power-building framework is based on an ecosystem of organizations building collective capacity and leveraging it to advance policy, systems change, or electoral campaigns to advance a shared agenda and build power.

    The ability of the ecosystem to build power is dependent on the extent to which the people most affected by inequities are engaged in the advocacy and centered in the ecosystem through grassroots organizing groups.

    Does your organization do work like this? Submit a Grant Inquiry
  • Schools

    Academic achievement, inclusive learning environments, and health go hand in hand.

    Rather than serving as a driver for equitable outcomes, California’s public school system has consistently fallen short of its potential to create a more level playing field. The school system’s failure to recognize its roots in white supremacy culture and complicity in reproducing harm in communities of color has led to persistently inequitable outcomes over generations and left a debt owed to those communities most deeply harmed.

    Our unwillingness to fully invest in our education system to ensure that any child who walks through its doors has all the support and opportunities needed to thrive, has only compounded this debt. As a result, our schools are frequently misaligned with community priorities and spend their precious few resources on compliance and control, thus breaching their duty to adequately educate all of California’s children and fueling a school-to-prison and deportation pipeline.

    Does your organization do work like this? Submit a Grant Inquiry

We fund ideas that build power, helps organize people, raises community voice, addresses fundamental conditions Californians are navigating on a daily basis.

We’re focused on ideas the bring power to the citizens of California to shape the criminal justice, health, education, and land use systems in ways that bring the most benefit to their health and wellbeing.

Are you an organization that works within one of these focus areas? Submit a Grant Inquiry
Play button

“Our goal is to create a beloved community.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where we're Focused

To be healthy, we need to have equal opportunity for all Californians.

We’re focused on 4 large regions that encompass the majority of California, and our plan for the next 10 years is to reach nearly all of California with an expanded regional footprint, increasing impact from the previous 14 Building Healthy Communities sites to nearly double the counties in the years to come.

To Focus our Efforts, we’re Breaking California into Four Distinct Regions:

Quick facts about the North region


Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Sacramento, Shasta, Trinity


4,732,648 (12% of California population)

Average Demographics:

African American - 5.4%
Native American - 4%
API - 6.96%
Latinx - 14.24%
White - 73.3%

Poverty Rate:


Quick facts about the Central region


Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare


4,700,314 (12% of California population)

Average Demographics:

African American – 5.01%
Native American – 2.79%
API – 7.74%
Latinx – 55.3%
White – 80.91%

Poverty Rate:


Quick facts about the Los Angeles region


Los Angeles


10,039,107 (25% of California population)

Average Demographics:

African American – 9%
Native American – 1.4%
API – 15.8%
Latinx – 48.6%
White – 70.7%

Poverty Rate:


Quick facts about the South region


Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, San Diego


11,345,868 (29% of California population)

Average Demographics:

African American – 5.5%
Native American – 8.8%
API – 10.74%
Latinx – 51.5%
White – 78.58%

Poverty Rate:


*Please note that many folks identify as more than one race, which leads the total demographics number to be greater than 100%

Are you an organization that works within one of these focus areas?

Submit a Grant Inquiry

Unveiling Our 2023 Annual Report

The California Endowment is proud to present our 2023 annual report. Read about the work we are supporting and our partners who are changing California to a state of belonging and inclusion.

View Report
Explore the campaign
youth awards

The 2024 Youth Awards Nominations are Closed

Thanks to each of you who took the time to nominate. We are now diligently working on selecting the winners from an incredible pool of nominees. Stay connected for the upcoming announcement.

Learn about the Youth Awards