The mission of The California Wellness Foundation is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.


Guided by our mission, we pursue the following goals through our grantmaking:

  • to address the particular health needs of traditionally underserved populations, including low-income individuals, people of color, youth and residents of rural areas;
  • to support and strengthen nonprofit organizations that seek to improve the health of underserved populations;
  • to recognize and encourage leaders who are working to increase health and wellness within their communities; and
  • to inform policymakers and opinion leaders about important wellness and health care issues.

Philosophy: Health Beyond The Absence Of Disease

Rather than focusing on medical treatment, TCWF works to prevent health problems resulting from violence, teen pregnancy, poverty and other social issues.

We begin by defining health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. As the World Health Organization has noted, characteristics of a healthy community include:

  • a clean, safe physical environment;
  • provision for basic needs;
  • an optimal level of appropriate, high quality and accessible public health services;
  • high-quality educational opportunities; and
  • a diverse, vital and innovative economy.

Wellness is a state of optimal health and well-being, achieved through the active pursuit of good health and the removal of barriers to healthy living, both personal and societal. Wellness is the ability of people and communities to reach their fullest potential in the broadest sense.

Social, economic and environmental factors all play a role in ensuring the wellness of communities throughout California.

The Foundation believes that every individual is personally responsible for adopting healthy habits. Widespread agreement exists about the dangers of smoking and substance abuse, the importance of physical and emotional fitness, and the effectiveness of good nutrition.

But the pursuit of wellness is more than just an individual endeavor. In underserved communities, residents can promote health by mobilizing to reduce violence and teen pregnancy, confront environmental health hazards and open up new opportunities for youth.

We believe the most successful community health programs develop the capacity of local leadership and institutions to create healthier environments. For this reason, we provide grants for programs that build on existing community strengths, emphasize community potential and foster self-determination.