June 2023 grant announcement: With $6.2 million, Foundation further invests in domestic violence prevention and health equity in California
As we work to make California the healthiest state and end domestic violence, Blue Shield of California Foundation is investing another $6.2 million in organizations around the state, with nearly half of that committed to a promising innovation in domestic violence prevention.
At its June meeting, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a total of 17 grants designed to have large-scale impact for Californians most affected by health inequities.
“This is an exciting time to be working with our partners toward achieving health equity and ending domestic violence in California,” said Debbie I. Chang, MPH, president and CEO of the Foundation. “We are proud to invest in leaders who are collaborating, innovating, and scaling up positive change for communities of color with low incomes.”
Break the cycle of domestic violence: $2.9 million
With $2.9 million fueling six organizations over the next two and a half years, the Foundation is investing in community-responsive restorative practices as a method of healing, safety, and accountability for survivors, those who cause harm, and entire families experiencing domestic violence.
Expanding restorative practices from the criminal justice and education systems to the field of domestic violence is an innovation the Foundation supports because current systems fall short for many survivors of color and their families, including those who cause harm.
This new set of grants builds on the Foundation’s track record of investing in work that has the potential to advance domestic violence prevention in bold new ways.
“We are excited to fund this leading-edge, racial and gender equity work in restorative practices that promises to bring more options for domestic violence healing and safety to survivors, children, families and those who cause harm, creating more opportunity for prevention,” said Lucia Corral Peña, chief program director. “Each of the grantee partners are innovating and implementing models with low-income communities of color that will expand access for restorative practices to prevent domestic violence in California.”
One of these grantee partners is the East Los Angeles Women’s Center, where Barbara Kappos is executive director. “Our hope is that restorative practices will bring light to the lives of those who experienced harm and a renewed life for those who caused harm,” she said. “We understand that healing takes place within the context of culture, relationships, and community. Our families and communities will rise up by the interconnection and the rebuilding of relationships and ultimately accountability and forgiveness.”
At Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, CEO Teiahsha Bankhead said this grant will allow the organization to apply, to domestic violence, its nearly 20 years of experience advancing restorative practices in the local school district and community. “In our communities of color, often the intervention that happens when police are called and even mental health providers are called, causes more harm and trauma than the initial trauma itself. So, people in our communities are reluctant to call, even though they need the help. We saw that early on as a problem and something we could help with,” Bankhead said. “We have circles of support and accountability for both the person who has caused harm and the person who may have been harmed to come together in a dignified way, with grace and compassionate understanding, bringing all parties together to be accountable for what happened but also to have the support to ensure that it never happens again.”
Strengthen economic security and mobility: $1.4 million
Because having the time and money to care for yourself and your family is so important to health and can help prevent domestic violence, the Foundation uses a variety of strategies to strengthen the economic security and mobility of Californians with low incomes.
Among the grants in this area this quarter is a renewal ($350,000 over two years) of our partnership with United Ways of California, which leads a coalition of advocates in working to promote and expand tax credits for low-income households.
A grant to the California Community Colleges CalWORKs Association ($357,000 over two years) will sustain and grow Project SPARC (Student Parents Are Reimagining CalWORKs). The project engages students who are parents, who represent roughly 20% of the community college population, in improving the CalWORKs benefits system so that students and their young families are better positioned to succeed.
“Student-parents are a key population to partner with as we seek to invest in practice and policy innovations that support the economic mobility of families and impact the long-term economic security and health of two generations,” said Monique Reyna, the association president at Fresno Community College’s CalWORKs program. With this grant, she said, “we can continue to educate and inform decision makers about the challenges our student-parents face and how we can not only support them, but also remove these barriers. Especially when it comes to accessing higher education.”
The Foundation is also renewing a grant ($430,000 over two years) to Legal Aid at Work, which helps California employees to use paid leave benefits — and which uses those employees’ experiences and feedback to advocate for improvements in the paid leave program.
Align systems with community priorities: $865,000
The Foundation has multiple strategies to support public systems in being more responsive to community needs, and in turn to support communities in voicing their priorities.
By renewing our investment in San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition ($240,000 over two years), we are building the collective power of refugee communities to advocate for health equity. Co-founder of the coalition, Amina Sheik Mohamed of the University of California, San Diego Refugee Health Unit, said, “Our partnership with Blue Shield of California Foundation has allowed us to organize and start our policy council. With this grant, we will continue training and working with our policy council to guide the policy priorities and actions of the coalition.”
Deepening the Foundation’s longtime support of the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) is a grant ($500,000 over two years) to develop a central hub for dozens of sites across the state. These Accountable Communities for Health — including new ones in the Central Coast, Orange County, Imperial Valley, and Inland Empire — bring together advocates and agencies in such sectors as education, parks, and health care to collaboratively address community health issues.
Other grantmaking to advance our mission
Through grants for public policy research and data analysis (California Budget and Policy Center, $300,000 over two years, and California Policy Lab, $250,000 over two years), the Foundation and its partners will be better equipped to assess the reach and impact of safety net programs and policies at the intersection of health, economic security, and domestic violence.
“In all of the Foundation’s partnerships, and especially in our grantmaking, we listen to and craft solutions together with the people most affected by health inequities and domestic violence,” Chang said. “These grants reflect the voices and needs of the California communities we serve.”
For a complete list of current grants and more information on all the Foundation’s grantmaking, please see our grants database. We also support grantees on social media (find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram), and feature their work in our newsletter, Intersections.
To organize parenting students in California's community colleges to share their challenges in navigating the CalWORKS and community college systems and potential solutions that improve their economic security and health.
To report on the causes and consequences of economic insecurity and potential solutions, with the goal of reaching decision-makers to improve economic security and health equity for Californians of color with low incomes.
To provide general operating support to Golden State Opportunity, a nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty in California by providing all Californians with the tools to build financial well-being and thrive, contributing to greater health equity and breaking the cycle of domestic violence in the state.
To support advocacy, outreach, and education activities that expand eligibility for and support implementation and take-up of paid family and medical leave policies in California.
To expand and strengthen the advocacy, partnerships, and capacity of the California Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition, leading to greater economic security and health equity for Californians.
To support engagement in the restorative justice learning community to strengthen and build the capacity of organizations implementing restorative justice practices to prevent domestic violence in the Fresno area.
To support the implementation and evaluation of restorative practices for Deaf survivors and their families throughout California to strengthen practice, build evidence, and expand access for restorative justice practices to prevent domestic violence.
To support the implementation and evaluation of the healing and restoration program serving Latine immigrant survivors and families, including fathers in Los Angeles, to strengthen practice, build evidence, and expand access for restorative justice practices to prevent domestic violence in California.
To support the implementation and evaluation of the Healing Cycles of Harm program serving BIPOC, Queer, Trans, and Gender Expansive people to strengthen practice, build evidence, and expand access for restorative justice practices to prevent domestic violence in California.
To support the implementation and evaluation of the Safe Outside the System Project serving primarily Black women and women of color to strengthen practice, build evidence, and expand access for restorative justice practices to prevent domestic violence in California.
To support engagement in the restorative justice learning community to strengthen and build the capacity of organizations implementing restorative justice practices to prevent domestic violence in California.
To provide general operating support to California Common Cause, which works to reform democratic structures and institutions to create governments at all levels that are accountable to and reflective of California’s communities.
To provide general operating support to the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI), a network of community-driven health collaboratives advancing health equity in California.
To support the San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition to build their advocacy skills and develop a shared policy agenda focused on social determinants of health.
To provide general operating support to the California Policy Lab (CPL), a research institute based at the University of California, to build a robust data infrastructure comprised of linked state departments datasets for researchers to use to study the impact of social safety net benefits on health and wellbeing of all Californians.
To provide general operating support to the California Budget & Policy Center, a nonpartisan research and analysis organization, to advance health equity through policy analysis and commentary, technical assistance and training, and convenings and conferences, all with a focus on highlighting inequities in the state and identifying policy pathways that promote well-being for all Californians.
To provide general operating support to the California Immigrant Policy Center, California’s leading statewide immigrant justice organization, which convenes and mobilizes a broad and diverse array of advocates towards transforming systems to achieve racial, social, and economic justice, thereby promoting greater health equity and reducing domestic violence in the state.
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