The California Endowment is a private, statewide health foundation with a mission 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.

Health Happens Here is the core of our work. It challenges us to think about people's health beyond the doctor's office and beyond the good vs. bad choices people make. In reality, our health happens where we live, learn, work and play—in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention.


The California Endowment was established in 1996 as a result of Blue Cross of California's creation of its for-profit subsidiary, WellPoint Health Networks. Since then, we've invested in health broadly, from strengthening the safety net for families struggling with poverty to diversifying the health care workforce.

The lessons learned from early investments were the genesis for Health Happens Here and the 10-year, $1 billion Building Healthy Communities plan, in which residents in 14 places are working to transform their neighborhoods. Learn more

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The California Endowment's Health Happens Here campaign was launched in 2011 and has since spread throughout the state with a number of organizations and institutions adapting the brand to their own work. 

What’s been particularly encouraging is the recognition Health Happens Here has garnered since it was first launched. Below are some examples:  

The California Endowment’s Health Happens with AmeriCorps partnership received the Governor’s Award for The Foundation of the Year 2012 for successfully investing in a service model to effectively address community needs.  Our statewide AmeriCorps partnership provides youth leadership development to youth in our BHC sites while leveraging $5 million so far in federal matching funds for our sites.   Program manager Will Ing leads this partnership.

The Health Happens Here campaign’s video ad Transform was selected by the prominent animation publication SHOOT as one of the top ten best of 2012, and by the Chicago International Film Festival for its award for PSA of 2012.  Transform was created by our communications team, narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, and has received more than 800,000 views on YouTube alone. 

The Health Happens Here exhibit, created in partnership with the California Museum, is one of four exhibits in the nation to receive the American Alliance of Museums’ 2013 award for excellence.  The selection committee of scientists, educators, curators and grant makers commended the “exemplary messaging” of the exhibit. Health Happens Here was highlighted at the Alliance’s annual conference of 5,000 museum representatives at the Museum of Science in Baltimore in May 2013, and was also featured in Museum Magazine. Communications manager Jeff Okey manages this creative partnership. 

The California Endowment’s overall Health Happens Here campaign was awarded one of the Council on Foundation’s four 2013 Wilmer Shields Rich Awards for Excellence in Communications.  Health Happens Here was cited for its strategic messaging and effective public engagement.  Our Health Happens Here campaign challenges the conventional views of health which stand in the way of community-driven change, and ties together our work across a broad array of issues, initiatives and places into one strategic message. 

In 2014, The Endowment received the prestigious award for "Large Private Foundation" for the foundation's effort to ensure the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California from the philanthropy watchdog group The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. The Endowment was also the recipient of the Association of Black Foundation Executives' 2014 Institutional Award for Philanthropic Leadership. The award recognizes significant efforts and contributions of grant-making organizations to promoting philanthropy as a means for social change in Black communities. The Endowment's President & CEO Robert K. Ross, M.D., was selected for inclusion into the 2014 NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50 in recognition of executives that move the needle to make the sector more effective. Ross was also named a Service Trailblazer by California Volunteers for being at the forefront of the service movement since the inception of AmeriCorps, and helping to create and support AmeriCorps service in California. 

The Endowment's #Health4All campaign to expand access to health coverage to all Californians regardless of immigration status was named the 2014 Bravo Award-Winning Public Education Campaign (Corporate) by the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA).



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Does The Endowment only fund health?

Yes, because The California Endowment was founded with a mission to expand access to quality health care for the underserved, and to improve the health of all Californians, this unique vision restricts our funding efforts. However, please keep in mind that the foundation's definition of health is very broad and meant to embrace the state's many diverse "health" needs.
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I've heard about your "multicultural approach to health." What is it?

Guiding The Endowment is its belief that California should be the beacon of an effective Multicultural Approach to Health an all-encompassing approach that serves individuals regardless of financial status, racial origin, cultural beliefs, gender, age, sexual orientation, geographic location, immigration status, and physical or mental abilities. This multicultural approach to health mobilizes the talents, cultures and assets of California's diverse population to improve the quality of our health systems and to promote health at the level of communities.
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What is the Health Happens Here campaign all about?

The Endowment supports the Health Happens Here campaign, which is reframing the conversation around health care from medical settings and individual choices to the idea that our health happens in neighborhoods, schools and through aggressive prevention measures. Health Happens Here means that living healthy requires much more than receiving care at the doctor's office. In fact, every moment of the day our surroundings affect how long and how well we live. That's why we're fighting to transform neighborhoods and schools into places where health happens, as well as to support the successful execution of health reform that emphasizes prevention and expands health coverage to uninsured Californians.
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Who can apply for a grant?

The California Endowment makes grants to nonprofit organizations, tribal governments and public agencies that directly benefit the health and well-being of Californians. To apply for a grant, applicant organizations or their fiscal sponsor must generally have valid tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be classified as a public charity, not as a "private foundation" under section 509(a).
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How can I get a grant from The Endowment?

The Endowment is currently investing $1 billion in 14 communities in California to improve community health through its 10-year Building Healthy Communities plan, which will continue through 2019. Thus, we have very limited funding available for projects outside of Building Healthy Communities. Learn more about The Innovative Ideas Challenge.
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I am an individual. Am I eligible to receive funding?

Sorry, no. We only make grants to organizations.
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Does The Endowment fund organizations that have fiscal sponsors?

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How did The California Endowment get its start?

The Endowment was established as a result of Blue Cross of California's creation of its for-profit subsidiary, WellPoint Health Networks.
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Is The California Endowment related to The California HealthCare Foundation or The California Wellness Foundation?

While The California Endowment and The California Health Care Foundation were both created at the same time as the result of Blue Cross of California's conversion to a for-profit entity, both are private foundations that are independently governed and operated. The California Wellness Foundation is another private health foundation that is independently governed and operated.
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How can I make a donation to the Endowment?

Thank you for the generous offer, but we do not accept donations. We do encourage you, however, to:

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Where is The Endowment located?

The Endowment is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego. Program managers work throughout the state to identify, support and partner with community-based organizations.
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What do I do if I have a question that was not answered on these pages?

Please e-mail us through our Contact Us area, and we'll be happy to respond to your query.
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