Support for advocacy was front and center in a recent group of grants from the California Wellness Foundation. Many of the $13.4 million in grants went toward youth activism and preventing gun violence. The foundation said the efforts of young people to push for gun control following the Parkland shooting inspired the gifts.
Advocacy may seem like an odd focus for a public health funder, but Cal Wellness’ CEO Judy Belk argues that’s a misconception.
“Wellness requires having some measure of control, some way to influence the policy decisions that affect your health, and the health of your family and community,” Belk said. “We have deep respect for the voices of the people whose lives are at the center of every health policy—the ones who will be living with the effects of those policy decisions day after day. We are committed to supporting them through our grantmaking and by lifting our voice alongside them in advocating for equity and justice.”