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.
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 We focus on fixing broken systems and outdated policies, ensuring the balance of power is with the people.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.