Learn How Community-Led Partnerships Lead to Lasting Change at HEFN Annual Meeting in Fresno

September 4, 2019

California’s San Joaquin Valley holds a number of valuable lessons for the rest of the country, as the United States grapples with the challenges of a changing physical, social and political environment. Although the Valley faces some of the country’s widest disparities in health outcomes and deepest impacts of climate change – including children’s asthma rates and a water system the state’s governor has called a “moral disgrace and a medical emergency” –  a regional movement to advance health and racial equity is thriving. It is not easy; there is acute understanding that community power building and sustainable progress require policy and systems change, civic engagement, capacity building, and grassroots leadership development.   

As funders, we know that lasting change also requires sustained investment of funding, and adequate time for strategic planning, community organizing and advocacy. The San Joaquin Valley has been fortified by strong partnerships that recognize these needs, such as the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund (SJVHF), which fosters the collective power of nearly 100 grassroots community partners and 19 funding partners to benefit the region.  At the core of the SJVHF are community-driven priority areas representing some of the deepest impacts on health and well-being in the Valley: immigration, health, housing, education, environmental justice, land use and planning, and civic engagement.

The community-led model is the real innovation of the SJVHF; the ability to connect funders and align investments maximizes the opportunities for change built on the groundwork of these trusted community organizations. That is why Fresno, in the thick of the San Joaquin Valley, is the ideal host city for the Health and Environmental Funders Network’s (HEFN) 20th anniversary annual meeting, The Transformative 2020s: Two Decades of Groundwork for a New Decade of Change, taking place November 19 and 20. The event will celebrate philanthropic opportunity and community partnership to progress environmental health and justice, and feature powerful speakers to inspire learning and change, including civil rights champion Dolores Huerta. Click here to see additional programs on the preliminary agenda and here to learn more about the event.

I hope to see you in Fresno!




Ellen Braff-Guajardo is the Director of Regional Programs at Sierra Health Foundation (a co-founder and funder of SJVHF) and The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, which manages the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund. Ellen is a member of the HEFN Annual Meeting Planning Committee and Steering Committee.


From our Blog

Blog posted on December 16, 2013
What can six funder groups learn by exploring without focusing on their narrow issue boundaries? A lot! In this blog post, a recap of the December 2013 San Joaquin Valley funder tour in California.

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