Our State of Health

Health does not only happen in a doctor’s office—it also happens in our homes, our schools, and our communities. Every aspect of our life impacts our health. Access to affordable, quality health coverage when you’re sick is important, but we believe that Californians need neighborhood environments that support health. Californians need neighborhoods where children can ride bikes and play together in nearby parks, where parents can buy healthy, affordable foods at local markets, and places where everyone feels safe walking to school or work. Californians need schools with quality school food and beverages, where exercise is part of the school day, and social-emotional health is promoted, leading to improved behavior and better decision-making. Whether you just stepped foot in California or you were born and raised here, we want your communities, and the local and statewide policies—or “rules”—that affect your life to work for everyone. With smart grant making—which we call “change making”—good leadership, and people power, we believe we can make the state of health in California better for all.

/p>

The California Endowment’s mission is 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. We don’t focus on prescriptions. We focus on fixing broken systems and outdated policies, ensuring the balance of power is with the people. We don’t focus on the individual, we focus on the larger community as an ecosystem of health. We work with citizens and elected leaders to find lasting solutions to impact the most people we possibly can. The goal is simple: First, change the way people view health—from the notion that health happens in the doctor’s office to a belief that health happens where you live, work, learn, and play. We call this “narrative change.” Second, integrate smart solutions in communities across the state. We do this by working with our partners and grantees to fundamentally change “the rules”—laws, policies, and systems—that impede health in our communities. Building Healthy Communities is our 10-year $1 billion-funded initiative that aims to bring health to where we live, learn, work, and play. We’re changing the narrative around health to ensure health and justice for all.

OUR VISION 

We envision a California that leads the nation as a powerful and conscientious voice for wellness, inclusion, and shared prosperity.

Where the talent and genius of all young people are no longer left on the sidelines, but are central to the state’s future;

Where California invests in the wellness of all and assures meaningful opportunities for all, particularly the next generations, and those who have been excluded from opportunity because of discrimination, marginalization and stigmatization;

Where there is racial truth and reconciliation, justice and healing;

Where public institutions are responsive to, and reflective of, the will of all the people;

Where all have voice, and are empowered to participate in a robust democracy;

Where health destiny is not determined by a person’s ZIP code;

Ultimately making California the nation’s healthiest state, and a model that fulfills America’s true promise of equality and justice for all people.

Together we will work toward a California for All in the 21st Century.

 

OUR COMMITMENT

In support of this vision, The California Endowment will invest in three bold ideas in the decade to come. These ideas have been shaped by our last decade of listening to and engaging with young people and grassroots communities across our state. These three ideas are:

1) 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

2) Reimagining Our Institutions: transforming our public institu tions 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

3 A 21st century “Health for All” system: ensuring prevention, community wellness, and access to quality health care for ALL Californians

These three bold ideas reflect our belief that California will be a healthier place to live and a model for the nation when it is free from social inequality and racial injustice.

We were endowed with the funds and the mandate to ensure health and justice for all. The 17-person Board and its committees help decide The Endowment’s grant-making priorities. All the rules around how these funds can be spent are outlined in the documents below. These documents keep us principled and The Endowment working. ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION  The California Endowment is a public benefit corporation. We are not for profit. HOW WE GOVERN: CODE OF ETHICS  Guidelines for how the Board of Directors and staff should represent us publicly. EVERYDAY BYLAWS  The rules for our day-to-day work. CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY  A few reminders to keep The Endowment’s work honest and wholly independent from the personal motivations of The Endowment’s Board or staff. COMMITTEE CHARTERS  Individual missions for each of the Board of Directors’ committees under The Endowment.

We are a not-for-profit, statewide foundation that works to make California a healthier place for all. We were created in 1996 when Blue Cross of California acquired the for-profit subsidiary WellPoint Health Networks. Today, with more than $3 billion in assets, The Endowment is the largest private health foundation in the state. We have a number of active and effective programs to improve health—from Building Healthy Communities at the neighborhood level to statewide awareness and engagement campaigns that impact millions of Californians. Each and every day The California Endowment and its community partners seek ways to improve the state of health in California.

Led by our board of directors, President and CEO Robert K. Ross, MD, and the foundation’s executive team, The California Endowment strives to set the standard for accountability, transparency, equity, and impact.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The California Endowment is governed by a 17-member Board of Directors from California’s leading nonprofits, health organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and industries. Our Board is diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, community-based experience, region, and professional expertise. It is designed to reflect a cross-section of California’s people and places.


 

Shawn Ginwright

Shawn Ginwright, a leading national expert on African American youth, youth activism, and youth development, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2013 and was elected Board Chair May 15, 2019.

Dr. Ginwright serves as the CEO and Co-Founder of Flourish Agenda, a social impact company that supports schools and community organizations with building well-being and healthy school climates. He is a Senior Research Associate at the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco, CA and Professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department at San Francisco State University. Dr. Ginwright currently also serves on the Board of Directors at Confluence Philanthropy.

He has received numerous prestigious awards including a Fulbright Scholarship from the U.S. State Department. In 2017, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco’s premier arts institution, named him as one of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Thought Leaders for shaping the future of America by “promoting radical healing, hope, and imagination”. He has spoken to audiences at Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Institute, Harvard University, Columbia University, and brings a renewed urgency to support American’s young people.

He is the author of “Hope and Healing in Urban Education: How Activists and Teachers are Reclaiming Matters of the Heart”, “Black in School- Afrocentric Reform, Black Youth and the Promise of Hip-Hop Culture”, and co-editor of “Beyond Resistance!: Youth Resistance and Community Change: New Democratic Possibilities for Practice and Policy for America’s Youth” and “Black Youth Rising, Activism and Radical Healing in Urban America”. He is a highly sought speaker to national and international audiences.

A resident of Oakland, Ginwright received his Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley. His research examines the ways in which youth in urban communities navigate through the constraints of poverty and struggle to create equality and justice in their schools and communities.


 

Back to Top

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2015 and was elected Vice Chair May 15, 2019. She currently serves as the Sacramento-based Bishop for the United Methodist Church (UMC), California-Nevada Conference.

Bishop Carcaño serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Council on Foreign Relations Religious Advisory Committee, the Southwest Industrial Education Fund Advisory Board, the Africa University Board of Trustees, and the General Council on Finance and Administration of the world-wide United Methodist Church.   While serving as the bishop of the Los Angeles Area of The United Methodist Church she was an active member of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders.

She is an internationally recognized immigrant rights advocate and an Auburn Senior Fellow.  She has published articles on the rights of migrants in the Huffington Post and The Hill and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.  Carcaño has also long been an advocate for the full rights and inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons joining her efforts to the work of such organizations as the Human Rights Campaign.  She also collaborates with the work of the Children’s Defense Fund.

A resident of Sacramento, Bishop Carcaño earned her Masters of Theology from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology who has recognized her with its Distinguished Alumna Award.   Claremont School of Theology granted her an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for her work and teachings on social justice.  She has been honored with the New Mexico Council of Churches Turquoise Award, Order of the Sisters of Loretto’s Mary Rhodes Award, Auburn School of Theology’s Lives of Commitment Award, the Arizona Interfaith Movement’s Golden Rule Religious Award, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles’ Women Leading Change Award, and the Leadership Award of the Los Angeles United Methodist Museum of Social Justice.  A water station in the Sonoran Desert bearing Bishop Carcaño’s name was placed there by the Humane Borders organization in recognition of her efforts to save the lives of immigrants crossing this often treacherous land seeking life and hope.


 

Back to Top

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett, a lifelong champion for civil rights for people with disabilities and an advocate for people with HIV/AIDS, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2013.

Bennett is the founder and principle of Caravanserai Project which supports social impact entrepreneurs and projects.   He served as president and CEO of the international non-profit United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).  He also served as CEO of AIDS Project Los Angeles from the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s.  

He has a more than 30 year history of success in business development, strategic planning, financial management, marketing, event production, and local and national public policy, having started his career as a Peace Corps/VISTA volunteer in South Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Watts riots.

Bennett was a founding partner of Sokolov, Schwab, Bennett (1992-2001), a national consulting practice focused on health care enterprises. The firm assisted for-profit and not-for-profit business through strategic consulting by developing business strategies and directing projects in managed care, financing, regional strategy, market strategy, public policy and e-health.

In 1978, Bennett joined United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties where he served as executive director until 1986. His commitment to community is exemplified by his robust participation on a number of non-profit boards, including NISH/Ability One (2009-2012), The Arcus Foundation (2010-present), The American Association of People with Disabilities (2012-2016), and Leadership 18 (2003-2016) and Save the Chimps (2017 – present).

Bennett, a resident of Palm Springs and Washington, DC, was awarded Volunteer of the Year for Peace Corps/VISTA in 1972, and was named Pepperdine University’s Alumnus of the Year in 1976.


 

Back to Top

Walter Buster

Walter Buster, Ed.D. joined The California Endowment as a board member in July 2011.

Buster, a resident of Fresno from 1995-2013, currently resides in Woodacre, Calif. He is the founding director of the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute at California State University, Fresno, which aims to bring the best leadership practices to all aspects of the education system in the San Joaquin Valley in order to eliminate the achievement gap and raise the performance of all learners.

He also taught in the graduate programs at the university and previously at Sonoma State University and San Francisco State University. His experience in the K-12 educational system spans nearly 40 years and seven school districts in Southern California, Northern California, and the Central Valley.

In 2004, Buster served as volunteer superintendent with no pay for six months for Fresno Unified School District following the departure of the previous superintendent. He also served as superintendent for Clovis Unified School District from 1995‐2002 as well as serving as superintendent for Cotati‐Rohnert Park Unified School District (1991‐ 1995), Tamalpais Union High School District (1986‐1991), Fairfax School District (1981‐1984), which merged with San Anselmo to form the Ross Valley School District, and assistant superintendent for San Rafael City Schools from 1984‐1986.

Buster began his career in education as a teacher in 1964, later as assistant principal in Southern California, and in 1977 as a principal for the San Anselmo School District in San Anselmo, California.

His commitment to community is exemplified by his many years of board service for a variety of nonprofits, including previously serving as chair of the board of trustees for the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, a nonprofit whose primary purpose is to ensure that all children have access to unlimited opportunities to learn anytime and anywhere, and that they have the tools that make that possible.

Buster was named Citizen of the Year in 1996 by the Clovis Chamber of Commerce and was the 1995 recipient of the Robert Alioto Award for Instructional Leadership from the California School Leadership Academy. In addition, he has published numerous articles on leadership in education journals and is co-author of the text A Practical Guide to Effective School Board Meetings.

Buster is a member of the Association of California School Administrators and California School Leadership Academy. Currently, Buster serves as a cohort mentor in the Brandman University (Chapman University) doctoral program in educational leadership, an executive coach for four California school superintendents through Pivot Learning Partners in San Francisco and a consultant for Lozano-Smith, an educational law firm.


 

Back to Top

Kurt Chilcott

Kurt Chilcott, a recognized leader in economic development and small business finance, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2019.

For more than 35 years, Chilcott has led innovative successful organizations and programs in the public and non-profit sectors, and for more than 20 years has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego-headquartered CDC Small Business Finance. The  non-profit organization has experienced tremendous growth, establishing offices throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, and maintaining its rank as the top-volume CDC in the nation under Chilcott’s leadership.

Chilcott has a long history of leadership in the economic development field. He currently serves on the board of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council. He is president of California Southern Small Business Development Corporation, a state-funded loan-guarantee program designed to help secure financing for small businesses and create jobs. In addition, he is a director for Neighborhood Bancorp, the holding company of Neighborhood National Bank, which provides capital to underserved communities.

Chilcott was the first co-chair of the International Economic Development Council and in 2013 received IEDCs prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Economic Development. Chilcott was the last chair of the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED), chair of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) and president of the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED). He also has served on the boards of numerous local and state non-profit organizations.

Chilcott’s leadership and accomplishments have been recognized by his peers and industry leaders. He is both a Fellow Member and Honorary Life Member of the International Economic Development Council. Chilcott has received both the Golden Bear Award California’s Highest Accolade for Economic Development Leadership and the Arthur Goodman Memorial Award for commitment to underserved populations and areas. During his tenure, CDC has received the National Lender Award a record three times, most recently in 2007.

Chilcott, a San Diego resident, is an expert source for local and national media developing stories on small business financing and access to capital. He received his B.A. from Harvard and holds a Masters in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.


 

Back to Top

Hector Flores

Hector Flores, MD, a long-time advocate for the medically underserved, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2013.

He co-founded and currently serves as the Medical Director of the Family Care Specialists Medical Group in East Los Angeles, which has four offices strategically located in health-professions shortage areas.

In addition, Dr. Flores is the chairman of White Memorial Medical Center’s (WMMC) Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Flores also serves as co-director of the WMMC’s Family Medicine Residency Program, which he established with five other Latino family physicians. The program provides young physicians with the training and skills to become excellent clinicians in shortage-area practices, to provide culturally responsive health services, and to achieve leadership positions in the medical community. Most of the program participants go on to practice family medicine in underserved communities statewide, and 100 percent are Board Certified Family Physicians.

Born in Mexico and a current resident of Los Angeles, Flores graduated from Stanford University and the UC Davis School of Medicine. He was a founding member of the California Latino Medical Association and currently serves on Blue Shield of California’s board of directors and is a member of the Insure the Uninsured Program’s (ITUP) advisory board. Flores also served on the Clinton Health Care Task Force and the California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists. He was also a member of the UC Medical Student Diversity Task Force.


 

Back to Top

Britta Guerrero

Britta Guerrero, Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Native American Health Center, Inc., a AAAHC accredited Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and non-profit urban health center, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2019.

SNAHC has emerged as a leader in the provision of quality health care delivered through a culturally competent, family-centered and wrap-around delivery system. To further demonstrate their commitment health leadership and to the patient centered philosophy, SNAHC was the first organization in the state of California to receive recognition as a AAAHC-Patient Centered Health Home.

Guerrero graduated from Humboldt State University in 1996 and began her health care career in non-profit clinics. Her passion for health care for the underserved brought her back to service within her own community. Guerrero takes the responsibility of representing an Indian organization very seriously and made it her personal/professional mission to ensure Native Americans have access to health care in urban areas such as Sacramento, a population that is often overlooked, tremendously underserved and still suffers the disproportionate burden of health disparities.

Guerrero holds a clinical faculty appointment at the University of Southern California’s Business Leadership Master’s Program. In 2012, she was given a three-year appointment by Senate Pro-Tem Darryl Steinberg to the California Commission on the Status of Women. In 2012, she was appointed by then Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson as the Native American Community Liaison to the city of Sacramento. In addition, Guerrero was one of the founding members and currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the California Consortium of Urban Indian Health (CCUIH). In 2015, Guerrero was elected to the Board of Directors of the California Primary Care Association and currently serves on the Executive Committee. In 2017, Guerrero was elected to the Board of the Central Valley Health Network, where she also holds an Executive Committee position.

Britta, a Sacramento resident, was the first recipient of the 2014 Sacramento Community Leader of Tomorrow award presented by Congresswoman Matsui, Senator Darrell Steinberg, and Assembly member Roger Dickenson. In April 2015, Britta was selected by the Sacramento Business Journal as one of 2015’s “Women Who Mean Business” honorees.

Her most important role however, is as a wife and a mother to her two children, to whom she credits her ability to be flexible yet firm. Guerrero is member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.


 

Back to Top

Zac Guevara

Zac Guevara, a retired investment management executive, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2012. He served as Board Chair from May 2017 through May 2019, and served as Vice Chair from May 2015 through May 2017.

Guevara is a Chartered Financial Analyst® who retired in 2009 after serving as an investment analyst, research director, board member, and executive vice president with Capital International Research, Inc. He joined Capital in 1992 as a participant in “The Associates Program” after graduating from Harvard University with an AB in government.

As an investment analyst, his research coverage included the transportation, newspaper, Internet media, education, home building, and defense industries.

Guevara commitment to community is exemplified by his service on a number of non-profit organizations’ boards, including  Para Los Niños (past chair), MALDEF (past chair), Communities in Schools of Los Angeles, KIPP-LA,  I Have a Dream Foundation – Los Angeles, Self Help Graphics & Art, and the Los Angeles Education Research Institute.

A resident of San Marino in Los Angeles County, Guevara currently focuses his attention on working with non-profit organizations, personal investing, and traveling.


 

Back to Top

Leslie B. Kautz

Leslie B. Kautz, principal of Angeles Investment Advisors, a leading investment firm representing many non-profit clients, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2016.

Prior to co-founding Angeles Investment Advisors in 2001, she was a partner at Asset Strategy Consulting which she also co-founded in 1991 and was later acquired in 2000 and operated as InvestorForce.

Prior to joining the investment industry, Leslie spent eight years working as a policy analyst in the legislative and executive branches in Washington, D.C.

Leslie, who is a Los Angeles resident, received her B.A. from Carleton College, and her Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

She is a Chartered Financial Analyst® Charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Los Angeles.

Leslie is a trustee of a family foundation and member of the board of her alma mater, Carleton College, a Retirement Oversight Committee member for a private Los Angeles-based school, and is a board member of the Spondylitis Association of America.


 

Back to Top

Christina Kazhe

Christina Kazhe, Esq., a Native American attorney who has made significant contributions to the field of Indian law, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2012.

Kazhe founded and leads the Kazhe Law Group PC, which is dedicated to representing Native American Tribes, organizations, individuals and interests. Located in Elk Grove, California, Kazhe Law Group PC works across a range of issues, including, but not limited to, land trusts and tribal and regulatory issues at all levels of tribal government.

Most significantly, Kazhe represented Wilton Rancheria in their pursuit of restoration status as a federally recognized tribe. Through her representation, Wilton Rancheria was successfully restored in 2009.

Prior to establishing her law firm, Kazhe was an associate/equity partner in the Sacramento office of the nationwide Indian law firm of Fredericks Peebles and Morgan LLP where she successfully represented Native American tribes in state and federal civil litigation, restored land determinations, Indian Child Welfare advocacy, and land into trusts applications and federal recognition.

Kazhe is a member of the Navajo Nation and affiliate to the Mescalero Apache Tribe. She received her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley and her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Davis for which she is the chairperson of Native American Alumni Association.

She has received numerous honors from UC Davis, including the 2004 Young Alumni Award. In 2010, she was named by the Sacramento Business Journal as “40 Under 40” for leadership, entrepreneurship, and community involvement.

A resident of Elk Grove, California, Kazhe served on the board of the American Indian Child Resource Center in Oakland, Calif., and currently serves on the board of the American Indian Education for the Elk Grove Unified School District. She is also a member of the California Indian Law Bar Association, Sacramento County Bar Association, Federal Bar Association and the American Bar Association.


 

Back to Top

Kate Kendell

Kate Kendell, Esq., joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2012.

Kendell is executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy and public education. Through direct litigation and advocacy, NCLR works to change discriminatory laws and to create new laws and policies benefiting the LGBT community.

Kendell began her career as a corporate attorney but soon discovered a passion for civil rights advocacy that led to her being hired as the first staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Utah. While there, Kendell oversaw the legal department of ACLU of Utah, and directly litigated many high‐profile cases focusing on all aspects of civil liberties, including reproductive rights, prisoners’ rights, church/state conflicts, free speech, and the rights of LGBT individuals.

In 1994, Kendell accepted a position as the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights based in San Francisco. While there she was responsible for the strategy and vision for NCLR’s legal program and projects.

In 1996, Kendell was named NCLR’s executive director at which time she took over the day-to-day operations and oversight of all aspects of the agency’s operation, including coordination of all litigation and litigation strategy, development of strategy with regard to policy and program initiatives and primary responsibility for fund development and budgeting. She also acts as the primary spokesperson on behalf of NCLR to the media and fosters alliances among other community and advocacy organizations committed to social justice.

A resident of San Francisco, Kendell lives with her partner and their son and daughter, ages 15 and 10, respectively. Their family also includes Kendell’s daughter, age 31.


 

Back to Top

Marta McKenzie, MPH

Marta McKenzie, MPH, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2015.

McKenzie, who is the former director of Health and Human Services for Shasta County (2006-2012), is currently an independent consultant working with Kemper Consulting Group and other health-related organizations where she consults on county health and human service and other behavioral health integration efforts.

Most notably, McKenzie served for 25 years with the Shasta County Public Health Department in various capacities, including Public Health Director (2000-2006), Public Health Deputy Director (1998-2000), and Public Health Administrative Services Officer (1995-1998), among other positions.

She has also served as a guest lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Department of Continuing Education, Division of Nursing, and also was an instructor at Shasta College in Redding, California (1979-1984).

McKenzie – who has expertise in public health, mental health, nutrition has served on a number of boards for nonprofit organizations, including County Medical Services Program in Sacramento, California (2005-2011), Mercy Medical Center Redding Advisory Council in Redding, California (2004-2011), Shasta Regional Medical Center, Redding, California (2005-2008) and was the Founding Chair of the California WIC Association in Sacramento, California (1992-1993).

A resident of Redding, California, McKenzie earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from California State University, Chico, and her Associates degree in Nutrition Studies and General Education from Shasta College in Redding, California.


 

Back to Top

Steve PonTell

Steve PonTell joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in July 2011.

PonTell is the President and Chief Executive Officer of National Community Renaissance (National CORE), one of the nation’s largest nonprofit developers of affordable and senior housing. National CORE owns, operates, and/or manages nearly 9,000 units serving more than 27,000 residents in Arkansas, California, Florida, and Texas.

PonTell is a respected national voice on the affordability and availability of housing, and the need for collaborative solutions to the housing crisis. Under his leadership, CORE and its Hope through Housing Foundation have earned wide acclaim for their proven and effective approach to building and preserving affordable housing that positively impacts communities.

In 1996, PonTell founded the La Jolla Institute, a California-based nonprofit think tank that advances a better understanding of the critical elements necessary for both communities and corporations to achieve sustainable economic competitiveness. He is a nationally recognized authority on community development and creating forward-thinking organizations to maximize evolving market environments.

PonTell currently serves on the Board of Governors for the National Housing Conference as well as on the Urban Land Institute’s Affordable/Workforce Housing Council. He is a member of the American Planning Association, is a past chairman of the Children’s Fund of San Bernardino County and is a past vice chairman of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board.

PonTell has a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University in City and Regional Planning and an Executive MBA from Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Business. He is married to Victoria, a PhD in nursing, and they have three children: Erin, Michael and Grace.


 

Back to Top

S. Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan, PhD, professor and associate dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in August 2016.

Ramakrishnan, who has been at UC Riverside since 2005, previously served as a Research Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco from 2002-2005.

He is director of the National Asian American Survey and is founder of AAPIdata.com, which seeks to make policy-relevant data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders more accessible to a variety of audiences.

As a published author, Ramakrishnan is the founding editor (July 2014-present) of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, an official section journal of the American Political Science Association. He also has authored and co-authored six books and many book chapters, monographs, policy reports and journal articles on various topics including civic engagement, public opinion, race and immigration, among others.

Ramakrishnan is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation (2006 and 2011) and Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center (2015-present).

Ramakrishnan earned his bachelor’s in International Relations and Political Science, magna cum laude, from Brown University, and his PhD in Politics from Princeton University.


 

Back to Top

Vien Truong, Esq.

Vien Truong, Esq., President of the Dream Corps, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2019.

The Dream Corps brings people together to solve America’s toughest problems by supporting initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity for all. The Dream Corps includes Green For All, which works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, #Cut50, which works to reduce crime and incarceration in all 50 states, and #YesWeCode, which works to help 100,000 young women and men of diverse backgrounds find success in the tech sector.

Vien is a policy expert and movement builder who has been a key architect in building an equitable and sustainable economy in underserved communities.

Vien has developed numerous energy, environmental, and economic policies and programs at the state, federal, and local levels. She has formed collaborations with celebrities, artists, clergy, elected officials, businesses, and civil rights leaders to advance policies and programs for underserved communities. She has advised on billions of dollars in public investments for energy and community development programs. In California, Vien co-led a coalition to pass and implement the state’s landmark Senate Bill 535 (de Leon), a law that created the biggest fund in history for the poorest and most polluted communities. She also co-led Charge Ahead California to transform the transportation sector and ensure that communities most impacted by pollution will benefit from zero tailpipe emissions.

Vien has received recognition from the President of the United States, U.S. Senate, and Congress, state, regional, and local awards for her work advocating on behalf of those most vulnerable to climate change. She was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as one of San Francisco’s “Top Women Leaders,” received the California League of Conservation Voters’ “Environmental Leadership Award”; and Transform’s “Leadership, Innovation, Vision, Equity” award. She also received YBCA 100 which recognizes the creative minds who are making the provocations that will shape the future of culture, and was recognized as a “Power Shifter” on the Grist 50.

Vien is a first-generation resident of Oakland, where she continues to live and invest. She holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.


 

Back to Top

Robert K. Ross

Robert K. Ross, M.D., is president and chief executive officer of The California Endowment, a health foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians.

Prior to his appointment in July 2000, 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.

Dr. Ross has an extensive background in health philanthropy, as a public health executive, and as a clinician. His service includes: medical director for LINK School‐Based Clinic Program, Camden, New Jersey; instructor of clinical medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and faculty member at San Diego State University’s School of Public Health. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatrics, served on the President’s Summit for America’s Future and as chairman of the national Boost for Kids Initiative.

Dr. Ross received his undergraduate, Masters in Public Administration and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Ross was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from 1988 to 1990, focusing on urban child health issues.

Dr. Ross has been actively involved in community and professional activities at both the regional and national level. He serves as a Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, a Board member of the California Health Benefit Exchange Board, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Co‐Chair, Diversity in Philanthropy Coalition; Board member, USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy; and has served as a Board member of Grantmakers in Health , National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the National Marrow Donor Program, San Diego United Way and Jackie Robinson YMCA.

He has received numerous awards and honors including the 2011 Public Health Champion award from the UCLA School of Public Health, 2011 Latino Health Alliance Champion Award, 2011 California Association of Human Relations Organization Civil Rights Award, 2009 Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Access to Justice Award, and the Council on Foundations’ 2008 Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year Award. He has also been named by Capitol Weekly as one of California’s most influential civic leaders in health policy, and he was recently named by the NonProfit Times as one of the 50 Most Influential Non‐Profit Leaders in America. In 1999 he was named by Governing Magazine as a national Public Official of the Year for his leadership in innovative health and social services delivery.

During his tenure at The California Endowment, the foundation has focused on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, reducing childhood obesity, 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.

In the Los Angeles region, he has provided leadership to support the re‐opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center and the revitalization of Charles Drew University.

In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10‐year statewide commitment investing $1 billion to advance policies and forge partnerships to build healthy communities and a healthy California.

Recently, he has helped bring greater philanthropic attention to the health and well‐being of young men of color across California and the nation.

Dr. Ross and his wife Robin have four children, and he serves on the Vestry Board at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.


 

Back to Top

Dr. Winston Wong

Dr. Winston Wong, a physician and leader in public health with expertise in advocacy, joined The California Endowment’s Board of Directors in May 2013.

Wong is the director for Kaiser Permanente’s Disparities Improvement and Quality Initiatives, and is also the medical director for Kaiser’s efforts in developing and cultivating community partnerships that address the needs of the underserved and the pursuit of health equity through the organization’s Community Benefit program.

Wong established the systematic measurement of disparities and equitable care as part of Kaiser Permanente’s quality strategy, resulting in the development of GEMS, the company’s first virtual data warehouse capturing racial, ethnic, and other socio-economic data for 90 percent of Kaiser’s 8.6 million members.

His work also spawned Kaiser’s program to identify successful practices across the regions addressing health disparities.

Prior to his service with Kaiser Permanente, Wong was a Commissioned Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, achieving the rank of Captain, and serving in various roles in the Region IX Office of the Department of Health and Human Services. While there he was in charge of the clinical development of federally qualified health centers in a four state territory, as well as the management of California programs supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). He was also appointed HRSA’s liaison to public health programs in the Pacific Basin jurisdictions of Micronesia, American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Guam and Saipan.

Wong is the recipient of the U.S. Public Health Service’s Outstanding Service Medal in recognition of his public service.

Wong also served as medical director and a primary care physician at Asian Health Services (1986-1993) in Oakland, California, where he was responsible for the clinical care of low-income, non-English speaking Asian immigrant patients, as well as overall clinical administration and leadership of the East Bay’s largest community health center serving the needs of the region’s Asian/Pacific Islander community.

Wong is a member of Advisory Committee for both the UCLA Center for Health Equity and the Ethnic Health Institute in Berkeley, California. He is also An advisory member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine in Washington, DC, for which he serves on the Roundtable on Health Equity, Roundtable on Health Literacy, and the Board of Population Health and Public Health Practice.


 

Back to Top

Robert K. Ross

President and Chief Executive Officer 

Robert K. Ross, M.D., is president and chief executive officer for The California Endowment, a health foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians. Prior to his appointment in July 2000, 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. Dr. Ross has an extensive background in health philanthropy, as a public health executive, and as a clinician. His service includes: medical director for LINK School‐Based Clinic Program, Camden, New Jersey; instructor of clinical medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and faculty member at San Diego State University’s School of Public Health. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatrics, served on the President’s Summit for America’s Future and as chairman of the national Boost for Kids Initiative. Dr. Ross received his undergraduate, Masters in Public Administration and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Ross was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from 1988 to 1990, focusing on urban child health issues. Dr. Ross has been actively involved in community and professional activities at both the regional and national level. He serves as a Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, a Board member of the California Health Benefit Exchange Board, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Co‐Chair, Diversity in Philanthropy Coalition; Board member, USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy; and has served as a Board member of Grantmakers in Health , National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the National Marrow Donor Program, San Diego United Way and Jackie Robinson YMCA. He has received numerous awards and honors including the 2011 Public Health Champion award from the UCLA School of Public Health, 2011 Latino Health Alliance Champion Award, 2011 California Association of Human Relations Organization Civil Rights Award, 2009 Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Access to Justice Award, and the Council on Foundations’ 2008 Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year Award. He has also been named by Capitol Weekly as one of California’s most influential civic leaders in health policy, and he was recently named by the NonProfit Times as one of the 50 Most Influential Non‐Profit Leaders in America. In 1999 he was named by Governing Magazine as a national Public Official of the Year for his leadership in innovative health and social services delivery. During his tenure at The California Endowment, the foundation has focused on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, reducing childhood obesity, 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. In the Los Angeles region, he has provided leadership to support the re‐opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center and the revitalization of Charles Drew University. In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10‐year statewide commitment investing $1 billion to advance policies and forge partnerships to build healthy communities and a healthy California. Recently, he has helped bring greater philanthropic attention to the health and well‐being of young men of color across California and the nation. Dr. Ross and his wife Robin have four children, and he serves on the Vestry Board at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.


 

Back to Top

Martha Jimenez

Executive Vice President/Counsel

Martha Jimenez joined The California Endowment as Executive Vice President/Counsel in October 2014. Her responsibilities include serving as chief advisor to The Endowment’s President and CEO on legal and governance matters, organizational and operational effectiveness and strategy, as well as directing the Foundation’s Human Relations and Administrative Grant-Making functions. Prior to joining The Endowment, Jimenez was Senior Counsel for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, and previously served in that office as the Director of Legal and Health Programs and Senior Health Deputy. As Senior Counsel, she was responsible for providing guidance and recommendations on legal strategy, policy development, and risk management issues. Prior to her service with Supervisor Molina, Jimenez served as Vice President for Policy and Development for Fair Trade USA where she advocated for “fair trade” practices to support farmers in developing countries by working with U.S.-based business. She also served at the Rockefeller Foundation, The California Endowment, Public Advocates, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.


 

Back to Top

Anthony Iton

Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities

Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH is Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment. In the fall of 2009, Dr. Iton began to oversee the organization’s 10-Year, multimillion-dollar statewide commitment to advance policies and forge partnerships to build healthy communities and a healthy California.

Dr. Iton served for seven years as the Alameda County Public Health Department Director and Health Officer where he oversaw a budget of $112 million with a focus on preventing communicable disease outbreaks, reducing the burden of chronic disease and obesity. He has worked as an HIV disability rights attorney at the Berkeley Community Law Center, a health care policy analyst with Consumers Union West Coast Regional Office, and as a physician and advocate for the homeless at the San Francisco Public Health Department.

Dr. Iton’s primary focus includes health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class, wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status. His awards include the Champion of Children Award from the United Way and the National Association of City and County Health Officials Award of Excellence for the use of information technology in public health. In February 2010, Dr. Iton was recognized by the California Legislative Black Caucus with the Black History Month Legends Award and presented on the floor of the California State Assembly with a resolution memorializing his life’s work and achievements.

Iton serves on the board of directors of the Public Health Institute, the Public Health Trust, the Prevention Institute, and Jobs For The Future.

Dr. Iton received his medical degree at Johns Hopkins Medical School and subsequently trained in internal medicine and preventive medicine at New York Hospital, Yale, and Berkeley and is board certified in both specialties. Dr. Iton also holds a law degree and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley and is a member of the California Bar. Prior to his appointment at The Endowment, Iton served since 2003 as both the director and County Health Officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department. In that role, he oversaw the creation of an innovative public health practice designed to eliminate health disparities by tackling the root causes of poor health that limit quality of life and lifespan in many of California’s low‐income communities.


 

Back to Top

Marion Standish

Senior Vice President, Enterprise Programs

Marion Standish joined The California Endowment with an extensive legal and philanthropic background. As Vice President, Enterprise Programs, she is responsible for managing resources that will support collaboration and alignment across all TCE Departments to achieve TCE’s mission and Building Health Communities goals and outcomes. Standish leads multiple philanthropic partnerships, provides strategic guidance to Impact Investing activities, and works closely with TCE’s Chief Learning Officer to achieve organizational goals. Standish serves as lead officer for the Endowment with the Partnership For A Healthier America, The First Lady’s Let’s Move Initiative, California’s Let’s Get Healthy effort and the National Convergence Partnership. Previously, Standish was Senior Advisor to the President of The California Endowment and the Director of Community Health where she oversaw multiple grant-making initiatives focused on transforming communities to reduce inequities and improving health. She played a key role in developing and implementing for many TCE signature initiatives, including the Partnership For the Public’s Health, Community Action To Fight Asthma and Healthy Eating Active Communities. Before joining The Endowment, Standish was founder and director of California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), a statewide nutrition and health research and advocacy organization focusing on access to nutritious food for low-income families. Before launching CFPA, she served as director of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, a statewide advocacy organization focusing on health, education and labor issues facing farmworkers and the rural poor. She began her career as a staff attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance, a federally funded legal services program. Standish received her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and both her M.A. and undergraduate degrees from New York University.


 

Back to Top

Dr. Hanh Cao Yu

Chief Learning Officer

Dr. Hanh Cao Yu joined The California Endowment as its Chief Learning Officer in July 2016. In this executive position, Yu is responsible for leading The Endowment’s learning and evaluation activities.  The Chief Learning Officer is responsible for learning, evaluation, and impact activities, and ensures that local communities, local and state grantees, board and staff understand the results and lessons of the Foundation’s investments. A nationally-recognized researcher and evaluator, Yu has more than 20 years of leading projects, providing oversight of multi-million dollar budgets and leading cross disciplinary teams.  She has partnered with over 40 philanthropic and nonprofit organizations to bring intellectual rigor and strategic recommendations to transform organizations, systems, policies, and communities. Prior to her appointment at The California Endowment, Yu served as Vice President at Social Policy Research Associates in Oakland where her responsibilities included setting strategic and budget priorities, developing an organizational learning agenda, providing oversight of external strategic digital communications, staff development and diversity action plan. During her 20-year tenure at Social Policy Research Associates she also served as the Division Director of Philanthropy, Equity and Youth.  Yu earned her doctorate at Stanford University in Education Administration and Policy Analysis. She is headquartered at The California Endowment’s Oakland office.


 

Back to Top

Dan De Leon

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Dan DeLeon joined The California Endowment in May 2008 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of The Endowment’s financial information and technology operations, including accounting, tax compliance, planning and analysis, audit, information systems and infrastructures. Prior to his appointment at The Endowment, DeLeon was the Los Angeles regional vice president of Finance for Time Warner Cable, where he was responsible for the financial operations of the largest corporate division serving 2 million customers in Southern California with voice, video and data. While there, he integrated the financial and information technology functions of Time Warner, Comcast and Adelphia. In 2009, DeLeon was named CFO of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Among his other positions of note, DeLeon served as the vice president of Finance, Western Division, for Charter Communications, a $900 million multiple system operator of cable television and internet services; vice president and chief financial officer for Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. (formerly AT&T Broadband); controller for Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc.; and controller for Merisel, Inc., a $5 billion international computer hardware and software distributor. DeLeon, a resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, earned his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Southern California (USC).


 

Back to Top

Ruth Wernig

Chief Investment Officer

Ruth Wernig was appointed Chief Investment Officer of The California Endowment in April 2010. She is responsible for managing the $3.3 billion endowment and overseeing a staff of 7. Previously, Wernig was treasurer of the University of Southern California from 2004-2010. She was responsible for overseeing the investment management of the university’s endowment, working capital, pension and life income assets of $3.5 billion. She worked closely with the investment committee of the Board of Trustees to develop an overall investment strategy for the endowment and prepared quarterly reports on endowment performance to the finance committee of the Board of Trustees. In addition, she chaired the university’s Retirement Oversight Committee. Wernig came to USC in 1994 as a treasury associate and later served as associate treasurer. Before joining USC in 1994, Wernig worked in the Treasurer’s Office at RAND and at State Street Bank. She is a member of the CFA Institute and the Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She serves on the City of Hope Investment Committee, the Commonfund Capital Advisory Committee and the Independent Sector Investment Committee. Wernig received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Brown University and her master’s degree from Boston University.


 

Back to Top