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Best of the Foundation Blog: 10 posts from 2019 that are worth another look

We published 33 blog posts in 2019, lifting up issues and themes that excite us, make us curious, or inspire us toward action. And while we like to think that everyone is reading each new post, even the most dedicated subscriber could be forgiven for missing one or two. So we thought we'd take a look back at some highlights from the year. What follows is a less-than-official top 10 list, featuring posts that performed well, resonated with staff and audiences, or those we just think are worth another look.

To all of our grantee partners, colleagues, and neighbors, thank you for working in 2019 to bring us closer to achieving our bold goal of making California the healthiest state and ending domestic violence. We wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. 

1. A Conversation with Foundation President & CEO Ray Baxter

In June, Chief Program Director Carolyn Wang Kong sat down with Foundation President and CEO Ray Baxter to talk about health as a unifying vision for social change. Ray served on the Foundation’s board for two years and is leading the Foundation while a search for a new president and CEO is underway.

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Carolyn Wang Kong and Ray Baxter

"People are coalescing around a shared vision for health, not just for individuals and families but for all people. That’s the vision that guides our work too."

2. Stack of booksStaff Summer Reading Picks 

In July, seven staff members shared summer reading recommendations, which offered a snapshot of what was resonating with us in that moment — moving, challenging, inspiring, and empowering us to see the world — and our work — a little differently.

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3. Using Human-Centered Design to Address Domestic Violence: Q & A with Jaspal Sandhu

For this blog, Jaspal Sandhu, PhD, Managing Partner of Gobee Group, and Professor of Practice in Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health at UC Berkeley, School of Public Health, joined Amanda Kim, Foundation Communications Officer, to talk about representation, collaborative problem-solving, and the importance of lived experience in creating health equity. 

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Related: Reimagine Lab, Re-engaged 

Many people think of “design thinking” as a process with clear steps. “Human-centered design” is also about a process but it puts people at the center of that process. This ensures that there's not an "us versus them" way of thinking and it creates a way for many different organizations, groups, and individuals, to use design. 

4. A Pathway to Prevention: How a life course perspective can help break the cycle of domestic violence

Jelissa ParhamEarlier this year, the Foundation published Breaking the Cycle: A life course framework for preventing domestic violence , a groundbreaking report that examines the complex factors that lead to perpetration of violence and identifies evidence-based interventions that offer promising pathways for breaking the cycle of domestic and family violence. In this blog, Program Manager Jelissa Parham shares how she connected a personal experience witnessing domestic violence with the Foundation's efforts to better understand the causes of violence.

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5. Measuring our Values: How a data strategy can help us achieve our bold goal

At the end of 2018, the Foundation brought two senior fellows onboard to help connect us — through their experience and networks — to two specific areas that will help us achieve our mission: social movements and data strategies. In this blog, Senior Fellow Jen Lewis-Walden explores the potential impact of a data strategy at the Foundation. 

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6. Government-Philanthropy Partnerships: Advancing the health of all Californians

In January, Policy Director Richard Thomason used the new year — and the beginning of a new gubernatorial administration in Sacramento — as an opportunity to reflect on the very meaningful achievements over the previous eight years that helped advance California toward our goal of being the healthiest state in America. This post coincided with the release of Government-Philanthropy Partnerships to Improve Health and Healthcare in California, a report the Foundation published in partnership with The California Endowment, the California Health Care Foundation, The SCAN Foundation, and the California Wellness Foundation.

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7. Announcing a New Funder Collaborative to Advance Gender Justice

Two survivors of domestic violence hugOver the past few years, movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, and the national Womens' Marches have driven a seismic shift in the national dialogue on gender justice. In January, Senior Program Officer Lucia Corral Peña announced the formation of a collaborative of California funders committed to moving forward together and investing in a range of gender justice issues with an interest in exploring culture as a lever for change. 

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Related: Continuing and Expanding the Fight to End Violence against Women 

8. On Allyship

Allyship, partnership, trust, social connection, and the ability to work together form the glue that enables us to solve problems and improve our lives and health together. In August, six Foundation staffers share personal stories on becoming an ally, in the hopes that we may, in the words of Ibram X Kendi, founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, “be fully human and see that others are fully human” too.

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9. What "Public Charge" Means for the Health of our Communities

In this blog, Foundation President & CEO Ray Baxter examined the Department of Homeland Security's proposed change to the so-called "public charge rule" — and detailed the resulting climate of fear, division, and confusion that discouraged participation in important health services and threatened immediate and lasting negative health consequences for communities across California. While we were heartened to see the rule blocked in October, we also know that the fight for a healthier California — for all of us — isn’t over.

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Related: 2020 Census: The potential undercount of immigrant Americans affects us all

We know that the fight for a healthier California — for all of us — isn’t over.

10. Two Years into Our Journey: Lessons in listening and humility

Even though it was supposed to just be a “refresh,” the new strategic direction that the Foundation embarked on two years ago has not only seeded a prevention field in California, it’s seeded a new stance and new ways of being for our Foundation. In this blog, Chief Program Director Carolyn Wang Kong reflects on that journey thus far, shares lessons learned along the way, and looks toward the future of what's possible when we work together to achieve a shared vision of a healthier California. 

We look forward to continuing that journey in 2020, and we hope you'll join us as we continue working to make California the healthiest state and end domestic violence.

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