Investing in PlaceWe are working with 14 key communities
to effect lasting change
Building Healthy Communities has a simple strategy: work on a local scale to create broad, statewide impact. Where we live, our race, and our income each play a big part in how well and how long we live. We need to reshape the places that shape us—our neighborhoods. Parents want to raise their children in neighborhoods with safe parks and quality schools, but many Californians don’t get to choose where they live. Because the differences between neighborhoods is linked to differences in health outcomes, The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative includes a deep investment in place. The following report, which covers the first five years of The California Endowment’s 10-year strategic plan Building Healthy Communities, documents progress, lessons learned and key changes.
Click here to download a PDF of the executive summary.
The 14 Sites
The 14 Sites
Building Healthy Communities partnered with 14 places in the state representing California’s rich diversity. The criteria for partnerships is described in the next section. Click on these links for more information about each of the 14 sites:
The 14 places partnering in Building Healthy Communities represent California’s incredible diversity across race, geographic location, and political orientation. They are California’s future. Our ability to open doors of opportunity for the talent and potential in these places to flourish is a marker for whether or not California will indeed become the Golden State once again. The Building Healthy Communities sites were chosen based on criteria grounded in social determinants of health data, the grant-making history, and key stakeholder interviews. The data was used to identify areas that are impacted by poor health outcomes, but have the potential to inspire policy changes to create a healthy environment for all Californians. The California Endowment’s site selection process was robust, engaging experts in the field and on the ground, and taking place over the course of a year. Starting with an assessment of need, The California Endowment staff further refined the site list using a number of criteria applied to both unique sites and the aggregate sites. The criteria used to determine the final mix of sites included geographic diversity, openness to change, large enough population for statewide impact, and diversity of organizing and advocacy.
What We’re Working On
What We’re Working On
The Building Healthy Communities Overview page describes the broad array of systems and policy change targets clustered in the three Health Happens Here campaigns. The sites’ work on these targets are as varied as the sites themselves. Before Building Healthy Communities’ official launch in 2010, The California Endowment supported community residents and organizations, working alongside public agencies and other institutional stakeholders to put together an action plan to guide their collaborative advocacy and activities over the next ten years. Rather than focus the planning on narrowly determined outcomes and a range of pre-determined strategies for getting there, The California Endowment, with leadership and massive engagement from the community, outlined 10 broadly defined outcomes . More than 25,000 individuals were involved across the 14 communities. Each site developed a short list of targets to focus on. The range of strategies being pursued in each site is vast—from salad bars to skate parks. The statewide Health Happens Here initiatives—in Schools, in Neighborhoods, and with Prevention—emerged from the priorities identified in each site. The work underway in each site and statewide in and across each of these issues areas is organized into Twelve Transformative Policy and Systems Change Priorities. Taken together, we believe the Transformative Twelve comprise the activities necessary to move the needle toward health equity in each of the BHC sites and across the state.
Fair discipline, a trauma-informed community school model, anti-bullying programs, and other policies and strategies that ensure a positive climate is one that feels friendly, inviting, and supportive in every school, rather than exclusionary, unwelcoming, and unsafe.
School wellness committees, access to clean drinking water and healthy food, enforcement of state mandated physical activity requirements, and other plans that promote healthy food and drink options and daily physical activity in all schools.
School-based health centers, integration of physical and behavioral support with academic programs, and other plans that promote access to preventive care, improve student success and create welcoming environments that encourage families to consider schools as community assets.
Health Happens in Neighborhoods Food Environments and Food Systems
Urban agriculture, the FreshWorks loan fund, corner store conversions, and other policies that ensure fresh, nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables, are within easy reach of every child and family.
Health Happens in Neighborhoods Land Use and Anti-Displacement Efforts
Health in All policies, shared-use facilities, Safe Routes to Schools, community-led planning, and other strategies that put residents at the center of land use decision making and promote physical activity, sustainability and access to services.
Health Happens in Neighborhoods Environmental Health and Justice
Access to clean air and drinking water, reducing the impact of ports, industrial facilities, and the movement of goods, climate change prevention and mitigation strategies that put communities most impacted by environmental injustice first.
Health Happens in Neighborhoods Systems that Restore and Heal
Improved policy-community relationships, violence prevention, restorative justice, and other methods that promote a vision of a healthy neighborhoods in which young people and their families are safe from violence.
Wellness trusts, community-based chronic disease prevention, and other projects that foster cross-sector leadership to improve the health of community residents and the environments in which they live, work, play and go to school.
Health Happens in Prevention Coverage, Care, and Community Prevention
Affordable Care Act implementation, health coverage for undocumented immigrants, healthy homes, healing and wellness centers, medical-legal partnerships, and other policies and strategies that ensure all Californians have access to affordable and culturally responsive prevention and treatment services.
Career ladders for frontline health professionals from underserved communities, cultural competency and language access programs, incentives to increase the supply of primary care practitioners in underserved areas, health literacy, consumer empowerment, and other policies and strategies that ensure all children and their families have access to culturally competent, comprehensive, prevention oriented and integrated health care services.
How We’re Working Together
How We’re Working Together
A key lesson The California Endowment picked up from other place-based community change initiatives is the importance of creating a Hub, or a group of individuals who come together to guide the effort at each site while the initiative is underway. As a result, in each of the fourteen BHC communities, there is a Hub that coordinates and supports the multitude of activities on the ground. The diagram below shows the Hub structure and function. The California Endowment provides full funding for each Hub, including a Hub Manager (not to be confused with the Program Manager) located at a Hub Host organization, a Communications Coordinator, a Learning and Evaluation Coordinator, and general coordination support. Each Hub also has a steering committee that guides the Hub Manager’s key decisions, engages in hub planning and strategic direction setting, and resolves issues that surface within the Hub. The TCE Program Manager is embedded in the community and works in close partnership with the site Hub Manager, grantees, and other stakeholders to work out strategies for implementing the site’s action plan. The embedded Program Manager is both knowledgeable of and directly accountable to the community where he or she works. Program Managers work as partners, mediators, advocates, grantmakers, and so much more. Finally, the sites are provided with technical assistance and training from a network of TCE contractors as well as special resources for strategic communications and evaluation. The importance of the Hub and embedded Program Manager cannot be understated. Rather than learning of problems through the filter of an intermediary, the Hub and Program Managers experience them in real time and work with The California Endowment and our partners to quickly resolve issues as they arise.The Hub
As shared on the Learning and Evaluation pages, The California Endowment is a learning organization and so we are engaged in a continuous process of learning and refining. To this end, we have commissioned a number of studies to help us understand what is working in the sites so we can strengthen those aspects, and what isn’t, so we can adapt. Below is a list of case studies: